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Congo's Tshisekedi sworn in as president

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:02s - Published < > Embed
Congo's Tshisekedi sworn in as president

Congo's Tshisekedi sworn in as president

Congo witnessed its first electoral transfer of power on Thursday, as Felix Tshisekedi was sworn in as president following a contested victory from a chaotic vote.

David Doyle reports.

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Congo's Tshisekedi sworn in as president

Democratic Republic of Congo has witnessed its first ever electoral transition of power - though Felix Tshisekedi's presidential inauguration was not without its hiccups.

In his first address, he was taken ill... (SOUNDBITE) (French) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO'S NEW PRESIDENT, FELIX TSHISEKEDI, SAYING: "No, I'm not OK" ... causing a brief pause.

His spokesman said Tshisekedi's bulletproof vest was too tight, and had since been removed.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO'S NEW PRESIDENT, FELIX TSHISEKEDI, SAYING: "I encountered a little moment of weakness.

Now that my strength and energy, that have always been mine, have returned, we can continue." Despite the disruption, which followed a contested victory in a chaotic election, it was still a striking moment in Congo's history - as former President Joseph Kabila handed power to Tshisekedi.

That in a country where all previous changes of leadership have been through coups, assassination or rebellion.

But Thursday's (January 24) inauguration is also draped in controversy, a fact shown by the presence of only one foreign head of state, Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta.

Nevertheless, Kabila had warm words for his successor on the eve of the ceremony - and even had a shave for the occasion.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO'S PRESIDENT, JOSEPH KABILA, SAYING: "I invite you to support him (Felix Tshisekedi) in mass in the same way you supported me during the past 18 years." Tshisekedi's victory in the December 30th election has been marred by accusations that he struck a backroom deal with Kabila to deny victory to other opposition candidate Martin Fayulu.

Fayulu says he won with a landslide, a claim backed by the Catholic Church which had deployed 40,000 election observers.

But Congo's highest court has dismissed Fayulu's fraud complaint and many African and Western countries, wary of unrest being reignited, have recognized Tshisekedi as president.



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