Tshisekedi promises new era for DRC with respect for human rights

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JOHANNESBURG, January 25 – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) new president Felix Tshisekedi has promised a new era after being inaugurated to take over from Joseph Kabila whose 18-year tenure was marked by human rights abuses and political upheaval.

During his inaugural address on Thursday in the capital Kinshasa, Tshisekedi promised his presidency would be marked by respect for human rights, the release of all political prisoners and that fundamental freedoms would be respected and all forms of discrimination ended, according to media reports.

His speech of hope was however interrupted for 12-minutes when he left the stage, saying he was feeling ill. When he returned Tshisekedi blamed the interruption on the stress surrounding the tumultuous election period.

The election results have been widely criticised by political analysts, the Catholic Church and the international community.

They have also been questioned by a number of African leaders, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community and the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, a 12-member body which includes Kinshasa allies Angola and Congo Republic.

Reports said the only African head of state to attend the inauguration was Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Opposition leader Martin Fayula says an “electoral coup” took place and that he is the rightful winner of the controversial vote.

Polling data by Congo’s BERCI and France’s IPSOS for the Congo Research Group in December, as well as actual voting count data by some 40,000 observers from the Catholic Episcopal Commission, pointed to a solid victory for Fayulu.

– African News Agency (ANA)