Felix Tshisekedi on Thursday was sworn in as the new President of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He succeeds Joseph Kabila in Congo’s first democratic and peaceful transfer of power.
Tshisekedi took the oath of office before a crowd of thousands, many of whom were his supporters. The ceremony was also witnessed by government officials and foreign ambassadors.
Tshisekedi’s electoral victory was confirmed by the country’s constitutional court after another opposition leader Martin Fayula disputed the results.
Fayula challenged the credibility of the results and demanded a recount, but the Court, in its ruling said Fayulu failed to prove the election commission announced false results.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) in an announcement on January 9 said Tshisekedi secured over 7 million of the valid votes cast, whereas Fayulu had 6.4 million votes. The ruling coalition’s Shadary secured 4.4 million votes.
Despite the ruling, Fayulu maintained he won the elections declaring himself as the “legitimate” president.
The swearing in
Speaking after he took the oath of office Tshisekedi told the crowd that the country will not be one of “division, hate or tribalism.”
“We want to build a strong Congo in its cultural diversity. We will promote its development in peace and security. A Congo for each and everyone, where everybody has his or her own place,” he said.
Tshisekedi however fell ill during his speech saying “I don’t feel well”. He stopped speaking but returned later to complete the speech.
Thousands of Tshisekedi supporters dressed in white, gathered outside the Palace of the Nation, the seat of the presidency in capital Kinshasa, to celebrate the historic event.
Aso-ebi is not just Nigeria o. Take a look at these people at the ongoing inauguration of DR Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi. pic.twitter.com/Lnb1ak4wkA
— Balqees Mojisola Adebola (@thebalqeesa) January 24, 2019
The ceremony caps more than two years of turmoil sparked by Kabila’s refusal to step down when he reached the constitutional limit on his term in office.
Who is Tshisekedi?
Felix Tshisekedi is the son of a late veteran opposition leader, Etienne Tshisekedi. Until his death, he was the face of the DRC’s opposition for decades.
Tshisekedi refused to back Fayulu ahead of the election after withdrawing from an agreement to back the opposition coalition’s candidate.
He now replaces President Joseph Kabila who had been in power for 18 years. President Joseph Kabila did not take part in the December 30 election.
Kabila took over as president from his father Laurent who was assassinated in 2001. He frustrated the holding of the election which had to be delayed for several years.