700 political prisoners in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been pardoned and freed by President Félix Tshisekedi.
Tshisekedi who recently won a crucial and contentious presidential election is hoping to heal a nation gripped with bitterness and tension.
He is also hoping to show how prepared he is to reconcile the nation which is very much divided along political party lines.
The 700 prisoners were jailed under the previous president, Joseph Kabila.
Seeking global acceptance
Felix Tshisekedi ascended to the presidency after winning a disputed presidential election last year.
His victory had to be confirmed by the constitutional court after one of his rivals, Martin Fayulu legally challenged the election results.
Despite the constitutional court’s ruling that his victory was legitimate Tshisekedi has been facing the challenge of being accepted by all which is not unusual with electoral outcomes in parts of Africa.
With very little to do within the DRC to win the hearts of those who still doubt his electoral victory he turned his attention to the rest of the world.
President Tshisekedi recently toured some African countries to win the support of his fellow African leaders.
Giving hope amid challenges
The latest gesture of freeing prisoners back home is considered a way of hopefully winning the hearts of DR Congo citizens.
The country is struggling to restore stability to regions still reeling under conflict.
It is also struggling to contain the deadly Ebola virus which has now become difficult to control.
Hundreds died from the disease since last year. Tshisekedi will be hoping that his presidency will quickly secure the needed credibility within and beyond the shore of DRC.
That will be crucial in restoring the country back to a stable ground for economic gains.