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December 17, 2011

Unlike the Independent National Electoral Commission, which published the results of the presidential election showing why it says Joseph Kabila won and for everyone to see and scrutinize, Etienne Tshisekedi has so far provided no proof to support his claim of an outright victory. Yet, the longtime opposition leader has said, once again, that he now considers himself president.

Does Mr. Tshisekedi expect all Congolese to just trust his word? He must have proof that he is the one who was elected. Not Joseph Kabila, Vital Kamerhe, or Kengo wa Dongo. There must be pictures out there, videos, signed summaries of the tallies at polling stations,…  These claims of victory, coming from such a respected politician, cannot be baseless.

Of course, Mr. Tshisekedi declared himself president even before the Nov. 28 presidential elections. His proof then was that “the Congolese people have already chosen me.” Well, maybe in a parallel universe they did. But in this world, we humbly ask for proof of Mr. Tshisekedi’s victory.

The Carter Center, the European Union, the United States, have said that the elections “lacked credibility”, “were not transparent”, “were seriously flawed.” Great! Maybe someone out there has the proof that Mr. Tshisekedi won. Or do they? It’s one thing to say that the 2011 elections were marred with irregularities; it’s a completely different thing to say that Mr. Tshisekedi won. Even these international observers missions have not gone that far.

Maybe that Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo has the proof. The Catholic Church had said before the elections that it will send 30,000 observers all over DR Congo. Yet, it has refused to publish its own results, even as nearly more than 6,000 of its observers were said to be equipped with electronic devices to collect and transmit the results from the polling stations! That’s a lot of data that could be used to show that Mr. Tshisekedi won.

And by the way, Mr. Kabila, you are the man. How dare you rig these elections, even as you were warned that so many observers will be present! So bold! So deviously genius!

But, who rigs elections to only get 49 percent? Then publishes the proof of the crime for anyone to see and criticize! This must be a new low for you, Mr. Kabila! Didn’t President Paul Kagame of Rwanda win reelection with 93 percent, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda with 68 percent? You should fire (bad choice of word), rather dismiss the entire INEC, which we all know you control. What a bunch of incompetents! They should have won you at least more than Mr. Museveni, surely not as much as Mr. Kagame. Can you blame them for winning with such “statistically impossible numbers”? They seem to get more respect from the judges of “transparency” and “effectiveness”. You really screwed up man. Look at the mess you have now created by letting your opponents get more votes than you in a rigged election! What if they had united in a single candidacy? They could have won the election despite all the ballot stuffing. What a shame.

On a more serious note, what now? What should we do now that two people claim to be presidents?  Oh! I got it. We should start all over again and hold new elections. The international community should come up with thehundreds of millions of dollars to fund the new, more credible, and more transparent elections. The United Nations mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) should organize them this time, as some are now claiming that its predecessor (MONUC), and not the INEC’s predecessor (IEC), organized the 2006 “free and fair” elections. Mr. Tshisekedi has said that those elections were rigged too. He has also said that he will thank MONUSCO for its services once he becomes president. UDPS supporters have protested around the world denouncing the international community’s perceived support of Mr. Kabila. Who will organize these new elections then? Quite a conundrum.

Mr. Tshisekedi and his party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, have so far rejected any suggestions of holding new elections. Simply put, they won, they can’t prove it (yet), but they say they did. And everyone should accept it, from Mr. Kabila’s Eastern Congo strongholds to Western Congo.

Just how did Mr. Tshisekedi win? Which provinces did he carry? Are Kinshasa, Bas-Congo and the Kasai provinces alone now the Democratic Republic of Congo? Did Mr. Tshisekedi win Orientale Province, North Kivu, South Kivu and Katanga provinces too? Did Mr. Kabila fail to get any votes in Kinshasa and other opposition strongholds? How exactly did Mr. Tshisekedi manage to win the election even as Vital Kamerhe received 8 percent and Kengo wa Dondo won in Equateur Province? Is the UDPS contesting their results too?

The UDPS should publish its own results showing that Mr. Tshisekedi won the election before they start sending supporters into some sort of Arab Spring, or should we say Congolese Christmas. God knows the Republican Guard will be waiting.

Being president of the Democratic Republic of Congo is no one’s birthright. Not Mr. Kabila’s and not Mr. Tshisekedi’s.