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DRC Poll: All Now Set for Historic Presidential Inauguration; Kabila Out, Tshisekedi In.

The stage is set for the first peaceful handover of executive power in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC. Kabila’s 18-year tenure comes to an end today as a new man takes office.

Felix Tshisekedi will take office today as the fifth president of the resource rich nation. He will be the first to be elected to office via the ballot box in the country’s history.

A number of leaders of government and representatives are already in the capital, Kinshasa for today’s ceremony. It will take place at the premises of the presidential palace.

The elections body declared Tshisekedi winner of the December 30, 2018 presidential election. The provisional declaration was affirmed by the Constitutional Court which dismissed a poll petition brought by candidate Martin Fayulu.

Kabila in his last state of the nation address called for support for Tshisekedi stressing that he was happy that an opposition candidate had won the polls, he also said he was available in any capacity to help the new leader steer affairs of the country.

Some reports had suggested that the two had entered into an agreement that saw the election results skewed in the incoming president’s favour – both camps have rejected the claims.

The Catholic Church has openly said that it was concerned that Tshisekedi will become a placeholder of a president whiles the real power could reside in Kabila.

January 21: US lawmaker wants sanctions on DRC officials [Statement]

Rep. Chris Smith (Republican – New Jersey), immediate past chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, issued the following statement on Monday on a constitutional court of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) ruling that Felix Tshisekedi is the victor in the recent election:

“Unfortunately, calls for a free and fair election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have gone unheeded by the regime of Joseph Kabila.

Independent observers have provided sufficient evidence to show that Martin Fayulu won the election, yet due to an apparent corrupt bargain between Kabila and runner-up Felix Tshisekedi, Tshisekedi is being proclaimed the victor, ratified by a constitutional court packed by Kabila.

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“All parties should heed the statement of the African Union that calls for ‘the suspension of the proclamation of the final results of the elections.’ If Tshisekedi is installed this week notwithstanding the tainted results, the United States should not hesitate to apply visa denials, sanctions and other tools against those complicit in election fraud.

“Further, it is important that any protests remain peaceful and that aggrieved parties refrain from violence. All sides must ensure that their actions do not compound the suffering of the Congolese people.”

January 21: RFI signal and internet restored

Internet was restored across the DRC on Sunday after the Constitutional Court’s affirmation of Felix Tshisekedi as president-elect.

The service was cut twenty days ago with the government defending the move as part of efforts to preserve national security. It was to avert the publication of unofficial results of the December 30, 2018 polls.

An RFI journalist covering the country also reported that the French broadcaster’s signal had been restored in the capital, Kinshasa after it was disrupted about three weeks ago without an official explanation.

Brief about President-Elect Felix Tshisekedi

1 – Full name: Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, born on June 13, 1963 – aged 56
2 – Son of veteran opposition leader, late Etienne Tshisekedi. Dad founded Union for Democracy and Social Progress, UDPS, in 1982.
3 – In early twenties, went to Belgium for university education, later became national secretary for external affairs for the UDPS, based in Brussels.
4 – Father died in early 2017, UPDS picked Felix as party leader and by default presidential candidate.
5 – Joined and abandoned Lamuka coalition. Weeks later he announced a two-man coalition with Vital Kamerhe, the CACH coalition, in Nairobi.
6 – Declared president-elect after December 30, 2018 elections.

January 20: Court throws out Fayulu petition

The Constitutional Court in the DRC capital Kinshasa on Sunday ruled on the poll petition brought by Martin Fayulu; throwing it out as one without basis.

The decision confirmed the January 11 provisional results of presidential polls won by Felix Tshisekedi. Fayulu’s Lamuku coalition have rejected the court’s decision and called for peaceful protests.

Meanwhile reports indicate that Tuesday January 22 has been slated as the day of investiture of the new president. Tshisekedi will take over from Joseph Kabila who has been president for the past 18 years.

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Written by How Africa

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