In a formal statement released on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), the former president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), Corneille Nangaa, has leveled accusations against President Félix Tshisekedi. Nangaa alleges that Tshisekedi had “lied” regarding an alleged fraudulent electoral agreement during the 2018 elections—a claim vehemently denied by the Congolese President.
Addressing the press in New York on September 19th, President Félix Tshisekedi asserted that there was “never any fraudulent arrangement” during the 2018 presidential election. In response, Corneille Nangaa issued a rejoinder via a statement posted on X, affirming, “He simply lied, and he knows it.”
Nangaa, who served as the head of CENI at the time, continued, “A political agreement does indeed exist, predating the announcement of the final election results. I am one of its co-authors.” He went on to assert that this agreement had been signed in the presence of witnesses by President Tshisekedi and his predecessor, Joseph Kabila—Nangaa’s close associate. Furthermore, Nangaa claimed that this agreement had been certified and validated by three African heads of state who commended Tshisekedi for facilitating a peaceful transfer of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Reliable sources indicate that the involved African states are South Africa, Egypt, and Kenya. Notably, this marks the first public acknowledgment of discussions surrounding this purported agreement by the key figures involved.
The Role of CENI Under Scrutiny
In response to these allegations, Déo Bizibu Balola, the Deputy Secretary-General of the ruling UDPS party, dismissed them as “nonsense” and attributed them to individuals accustomed to the practices of the previous regime.
However, Fred Bauma (BAOUMA), the Executive Director of Ebuteli, a Congolese research institute, raised concerns. He contended that if such an agreement had existed, it had long since unraveled, especially following President Tshisekedi’s restructuring of the government, military, and judiciary. Bauma, nonetheless, highlighted that Nangaa’s claim of co-authorship of the agreement raises questions about CENI’s impartiality during an election whose results were widely contested by numerous observers. “The fact that the President of CENI engaged in negotiations for the formation of a parliamentary majority and a government calls into question the commission’s independence,” he remarked, suggesting that this warrants further investigation.
Corneille Nangaa, who remains under U.S. sanctions for corruption and interference in the democratic process, has been in exile in Belgium for the past seven months. During this period, he declared his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election and established his political party, the Action for the Dignity of the Congo and its People (ADPC).