Thirty-two members of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or about 5% of the total, have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, the vice president of the National Assembly said. Congo’s vaccination campaign has stuttered after it delayed the rollout because of safety concerns about the AstraZeneca shot. Many Congolese are reluctant to take a vaccine because of fears of the side-effects.
The leading opposition presidential candidate in Congo-Brazzaville, who was seriously ill with Covid-19, has died hours after polls closed. Guy-Brice Parfait Kolélas died on a plane taking him to France for treatment, his campaign director said. Hours earlier the 61-year-old had appeared in a video shared on social media, where he removed his oxygen mask and told his supporters that he was “fighting death”.
At least 50 people have been killed after a train derailed in Congo overnight, the country’s ministry has said. The cause of the accident is not yet known, but there are often derailments due to the cost of maintaining railways and trains. Workers from the national railway company claim they have several years of unpaid wages.
A second Ebola outbreak has hit Congo as the country struggles to cope with coronavirus and the world’s largest measles outbreak, health officials have announced. The Democratic Republic of the Congo had not yet declared an official end to Ebola in its troubled east, where at least 2,243 people have died since an epidemic began there in August 2018.
A former Congolese rebel leader has been sentenced to 30 years for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bosco Ntaganda, nicknamed “Terminator”, was convicted on 18 counts including murder, rape, sexual slavery and using child soldiers. Ntaganda was the first person to be convicted of sexual slavery by the ICC and overall the fourth person the court has convicted since its creation in 2002.
Opposition presidential candidate Martin Fayulu has warned election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo not to “disguise the truth” as tensions mount over the delayed result. Mr Fayulu said the “Congolese people already know” the result of the vote, which took place on 30 December. A local observer group said it had witnessed “major irregularities” at counting stations. President Joseph Kabila is due to step down after 18 years in office.
Congo’s electoral commission declared Felix Tshisekedi the winner of a contentious presidential election in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, setting the stage for the country’s first democratic transfer of power, despite delays, irregularities and evidence of fraud. He will replace Joseph Kabila, who has been president for the past 18 years. Tshisekedi represents Congo’s oldest political party, founded by his father, which has spent decades in the opposition.