News24

DRC's Tshisekedi takes 'presidential oath'

2011-12-24 11:55

Kinshasa - Democratic Republic of Congo opposition chief Etienne Tshisekedi, who rejects Joseph Kabila's re-election as president, had himself "sworn in" at his home on Friday as police clashed with his supporters.

Tshisekedi, 79, who came second in the November 28 poll, defied a police ban on his "inauguration", which had been planned for a football stadium in the capital where police fired teargas to prevent the planned ceremony.

With armoured vehicles of the Republican Guard and large forces of police mobilised at the stadium, the event was moved to Tshisekedi's Kinshasa home, where police also used tear gas on supporters and officials of his Union for Democracy and Social Progress gathered outside.

"It's banned. There is already an elected president who has been sworn in. We cannot have another swearing-in. It's an act of subversion," a source close to the head of the country's police said.

"Such a rally would be destabilising for the regime in place," the source added of the event planned for Martyr's Stadium.

Tshisekedi took the oath on a Bible after his chief of staff Albert Moleka read a statement claiming that "today puts an indelible mark on the history of our country which has passed from dictatorship via the oligarchy of Kabila and his followers to real democracy."

Government spokesperson Lambert Mende promptly dismissed the ceremony as a farce and a non-event, as well as "an insult to oath taking".

"The head of state only takes the oath before a supreme court," he said. "Did you see a supreme court judge?"

Meanwhile, the country's communications minister Lambert Mende said the signal of Radio France International (RFI) was cut several times since late on Thursday as it was broadcasting news about Tshisekedi's planned "swearing-in".

Mende blasted RFI for becoming "a mouthpiece for the UDPS," Tshisekedi's party.

Kabila, who has been in power since January 2001, took nearly 49% of the vote in last month's election, with Tshisekedi coming second with 32%.

Kabila was officially sworn-in at a ceremony in Kinshasa on Tuesday.

Tshisekedi contends he was denied victory by massive fraud.

Hundreds of Tshisekedi supporters demonstrated in Antwerp Friday against the reelection of Kabila, whom they accuse of cheating in the polls.

The government on Thursday pledged to probe alleged post-vote police killings, as Human Rights Watch said security forces killed at least 24 people and "arbitrarily" arrested dozens since Kabila's disputed victory was announced December 9.

Justice Minister Emmanuel Luzolo Bambi told AFP his office would work with Human Rights Watch to try to document each case in the report, and that he had already spoken with prosecutors.

"If the allegations are verified, the justice department will take action," he said.

According to Human Rights Watch, all but four of those in its report died in Kinshasa between December 9 and 14. Two more were killed in eastern Nord Kivu province, and two in central Kasai Occidental.

HRW said it also documented an attack where youths in the capital stoned a priest, who later died of his injuries.

Since Kabila's victory was announced, "security forces have been firing on small crowds, apparently trying to prevent protests against the result," HRW senior Africa researcher Anneke Van Woudenberg said.

After interviewing 86 victims and witnesses of violence, the US-based human rights watchdog said it had dozens of unconfirmed reports of killings and attacks by security forces.

Kabila's victory was upheld even after international observers decried electoral conditions, citing problems in the vote count and the loss of huge numbers of ballots.

HRW said that "police and other security forces appear to be covering up the scale of the killings by quickly removing the bodies."

It singled out the police and Kabila's presidential guard for blame.

"The UN and Congo's international partners should urgently demand that the government rein in its security forces."

London-based rights group Amnesty International earlier denounced what it said was a wave of political arrests, notably of opposition activists, since the elections.

 

Comments
  • Cliff - 2011-12-24 13:31

    money is made when their is blood in the streets - it's rather simple! bAnd who are the puppet masters? Me thinks we all part of it!!!!!

  • David - 2011-12-24 14:23

    @Rod. If I was equally priviledged like many whites (who have dual citizenship)in this country, I would not be complaining like Frank. I would just leave because "the whole Africa seems to be in turmoil". So my advise was why, cant he just leave if he can't take it anymore? Surely, you cant take issues with such a noble advise unless you are stupid. However, your response goes to shows who, amongst us, has dept to think.

      Angela - 2011-12-24 16:46

      Tell them David.The reason why they are not in Europe is because they know life in Europe is manure .They will not have the jobs and opportunities they have in AFRICA .

  • Wilbert - 2011-12-24 15:37

    DRC is a member of SADC and the latter has obviously endorsed Kabila's "win". Although none of the SADC Heads of State attended the swearing in except the usual suspect - Mugabe. Still SADC have accepted the fraudulent election result. Zimbabwe is preparing for elections in a few months time and all evidence point to yet another violent contest and SADC will in turn gives its thumbs up!

  • Paris - 2011-12-24 15:50

    Congratulations president Tsisekedi.Put country first.Rescind all mining electricity contracts with all who supported the genocide in DRC ,the so called SADC.Please declare loud and clear that there has been a genocide committed by tutsi in DRC with the principal mastermind paul hitler kagame and hunt him down at all cost.

  • Shoe - 2011-12-24 18:51

    So is the Arab world, the former USSR territory and Europe. Why single Africa?

  • Shoe - 2011-12-24 19:00

    The comment above was meant for "Frank".My bad. However, here's where intelligence fails me in the DRC situation, how do these two leaders explain the unrest, the loss of life, the negative attention their country is drawing and receiving from the world, the impoverishment of communities, the stunting of growth and development...all just for their own personal ambition. How do so called leaders sleep at night while all this suffering and pain is visited upon the very same people whose interest and well being they claim to be in center of their hearts......do they even have the hearts.....the mind boggles.

  • Buti - 2011-12-24 23:22

    Africa fall under 7continent y pple always think bad about it

  • Mohamed - 2011-12-25 03:40

    WHEN, BUT WHEN ARE WE GOING TO SEE ON MEDIA A CROWD OF KABILA SUPPORTERS JUBILATING FOR THEIR WIN??? IT SEEMS AS IF HE ONLY HAS SOLDIERS AS FOLLOWERS??? WE ONLY C SUPPORTERS OF THE OPPOSITION BEING MASSACRED BY THE MILITARY!!! HOW DID WIN MY GOODNESS!! MAY HIS SUPPORTERS SHOW UP ONCE FOR GOODNESS SAKE!! IF THEY EXIST

  • Mohamed - 2011-12-25 03:44

    SADC SADC WAT IS THAT NOW? WAT ARE ITS ACHIEVEMENTS IN TERMS OF SOCIAL WELBEING? BCOZ IT HAS ACHIEVED A LOT IN KEEPING DICTATORS IN POWER.

  • Guelord - 2011-12-25 10:04

    It does not have to be that way; You do not have to slaughter millions of people to get access to the Cobalt to produce colour television sets, or access to Coltan for electronics industries, copper for automobile industries You want to improve your economy; you want resources: Congolese people don’t eat Coltan nor do they eat gold, cobalt, copper and diamond etc. Congolese people are willing to share their pure water, electricity etc Talk to Congolese people, they will to let you exploit their minerals, but for God sake, stop killing the people, stop letting Ruanda, Uganda and Joseph Kabila kill with impunities.

  • Mohamed - 2011-12-26 04:18

    kabila sould call for a mass gathering very soon in a big stadium in kinshasa to show that he has followers. With almost 50% of vote as proclaimed by the officials, that should be very easy task for him!! Go on kabila, fill up that martyr stadium with your supporters. Anyway why have u been waiting for so long to do that?

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