UPDATE: DRC's new leader vows to combat corruption

2019-01-24 18:31
Felix Tshisekedi (File: AFP)

Felix Tshisekedi (File: AFP)

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The Latest on Democratic Republic of Congo's new president (all times local):

15:30 

Democratic Republic of Congo's new President Felix Tshisekedi is vowing to take on the country's widespread corruption, asserting that billions of dollars are lost per year.

He calls the revenue brought in "the weakest in the world."

DRC has trillions of dollars' worth of mineral wealth but the country remains largely underdeveloped, to the frustration of the population of 80 million people.

The 55-year-old Tshisekedi had briefly paused his inauguration speech, not feeling well, before resuming several minutes later and asking the crowd for its understanding. He cited a "small moment of weakness."

A number of people in the crowd earlier had fainted in the heat.

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15:10

DRC's new President Felix Tshisekedi says he soon will release all political prisoners in the country.

The opposition leader made the announcement shortly after taking the oath of office.

His speech appealed for peace and tolerance in the long-turbulent country after the disputed December 30 election. He takes over from longtime leader Joseph Kabila, who received many cheers and some boos from the inauguration crowd when he was mentioned.

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14:55 

DRC's new President Felix Tshisekedi is paying tribute to his father, the late opposition icon Etienne, who never achieved the post his son has won.

Tshisekedi in honoring his father refers to him as "president" — a nod to his father defiantly declaring himself president after losing a disputed election in 2011 to Joseph Kabila.

The inauguration crowd erupted in cheers.

DRC's new leader notes his father's "moral rigor" and fight for democracy over decades.

Etienne Tshisekedi had posed such a charismatic challenge that after he died in Belgium in 2017, Congo's government did not allow his body to be brought home. His son's spokesman has said that will be corrected once Felix Tshisekedi takes office.

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14:40 p.m.

DRC's new President Felix Tshisekedi tells a cheering crowd upon his inauguration that the country will not be one of "division, hate or tribalism."

The opposition leader takes office after a disputed election. He declares that the vast Central African nation is at "the horizon of a new era." He calls for a moment of silence to remember compatriots who "fell on the field" while fighting for democracy over decades.

Questions remain about the Dec. 30 vote, but Congolese largely have accepted Tshisekedi's win in the interest of peace. The new president salutes Martin Fayulu, who challenged the results, as a "veritable soldier of the people."

Tshisekedi takes over from Joseph Kabila, who led the country since 2001. Kabila has urged the country to unite in support of the new leader.

This is the nation's first peaceful transfer of power since independence nearly 60 years ago.

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14:30 

DRC's Felix Tshisekedi has been sworn in as the new president, cementing the Central African nation's first peaceful transfer of power since independence nearly 60 years ago.

The opposition leader has taken the oath and held up the national flag in celebration.

He takes over from Joseph Kabila, who led the country since 2001.

Questions remain about the disputed Dec. 30 vote, but Congolese largely have accepted Tshisekedi's win in the interest of peace.


Read more on:    joseph ­kabila  |  felix tshisekedi  |  drc  |  central africa
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