Mbeki congratulates Kabila, president by absolute majority

President Thabo Mbeki yesterday congratulated his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart, Joseph Kabila, on his affirmation as the democratically elected president of the DRC.

President Thabo Mbeki yesterday congratulated his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart, Joseph Kabila, on his affirmation as the democratically elected president of the DRC.

"The government and people of South Africa join the international community in welcoming the DRC's supreme court decision to declare President Joseph Kabila as a democratically elected leader of the DRC," he said.

"It is our conviction that the results are an expression of the free will of the people of the DRC."

Mbeki also congratulated the DRC's Independent Electoral Commission, all political parties for their participation "in this historic process", and Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba for approaching the supreme court with his objections.

"The finalisation of the election process must surely lay a firm foundation for the mobilisation of all the people behind the banner of reconstruction of their country in a peaceful, stable and democratic environment."

South Africa stood ready, within its limited resources, to help the DRC, Mbeki said.

Kabila was "elected, by absolute majority, president," supreme court president Benoit Iwamba said outside the heavily guarded foreign ministry building in the capital, Kinshasa.

He confirmed the results, which gave Kabila 58,05percent of the vote. Bemba got 41,95percent.

The legal challenge to the results by Bemba's party was "unfounded", the court said, ruling against all eight points of Bemba's submission.

The presidential run-off was the finale of the first free elections in 41 years. But the country is still not at peace.

The army, riot police and UN security forces were all out in strength ahead of the announcement of the ruling by the court. - Sapa-AFP

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