Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

DR Congo Election: Kabila Sworn in as Rival Challenges His Legitimacy

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

DR Congo Election: Kabila Sworn in as Rival Challenges His Legitimacy

Article excerpt

Congo's President Joseph Kabila took the oath of office today for his second term. Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi promised to take his own oath Friday, and announced that Kabila's government was 'dismissed.'

Congo has a new president, and by Friday, it might have two.

On Tuesday, incumbent President Joseph Kabila took the oath of office after the official results from Nov. 28 elections were confirmed by the Supreme Court. The court confirmation closed the door on any investigation of an election process that international observers called "seriously flawed" and full of irregularities.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement expressing the Obama administration's "disappointment" with Mr. Kabila's decision to take the oath of office without conducting a review of the electoral process. The European Union also expressed disappointment and said the EU would "reevaluate" its support for Congo in the coming year.

The South African government and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, meanwhile, congratulated Kabila. Mr. Mugabe, the only foreign head of state to attend Kabila's oath of office ceremony, said that Kabila had "won thunderously against [opposition leader Etienne] Tshisekedi. This must send a clear message to those who had other ideas."

Now all eyes have turned to Mr. Tshisekedi, the opposition leader. Mr. Kabila has deployed Army tanks on the streets of the capital, Kinshasa, to prevent protests, and Tshisekedi's spokesman has said the opposition leader still intends on taking his own separate oath of office on Friday.

"I consider myself from this day on the president elected by the Congolese people," Mr. Tshisekedi reportedly told his supporters on Sunday.

"I ask you to be calm and serene because a winner doesn't get agitated, does not worry, to the contrary, he remains calm," [he was quoted by Congo News Agency as saying]. "As for those who are causing our troubles, starting with Mr. Kabila, I ask all of you to look for him, wherever he is in the country, and bring him to me alive. Whoever brings me Kabila here, handcuffed, will receive a very big prize. …

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