The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Félix Tshisekedi, largely victorious in the December elections described as a “sham” by the opposition, was sworn in on Saturday January 20 in Kinshasa for a second five-year term, in a tense political and security climate. . As for the launch of his electoral campaign, “Fatshi”, 60 years old, had thought big and chosen for his inauguration the Martyrs stadium, filled to its maximum capacity of 80,000 seats. Around twenty African heads of state and delegations from several dozen other countries were present, for a ceremony under high security and very formal, with fanfare, cavalry and prayers.

“I solemnly swear (…) to defend the Constitution and the laws of the Republic, (…), to maintain its independence and the integrity of its territory”, declared the re-elected president before the judges of the Constitutional Court, before receive greetings from the customary leaders of the 26 provinces of the country. “I am aware of your expectations”, then declared Félix Tshisekedi in his inauguration speech, referring to unemployment, purchasing power, young people, women, national cohesion…

His first swearing-in, in January 2019, when he succeeded Joseph Kabila (2001-2018) after a controversial election, took place in the gardens of the very solemn Palace of the Nation. Son of the historic opponent Etienne Tshisekedi, who died two years earlier, he then took the reins of the immense Central African country, rich in minerals but with a predominantly poor population, promising to improve the living conditions of the Congolese. and end 25 years of armed violence in the East.

He did not achieve his objectives but campaigned, with considerable resources, on “the achievements” of his first mandate, such as free primary education, and asked voters to grant him a second mandate for ” consolidate “. The presidential election took place at the same time as the legislative, provincial and local elections, a quadruple ballot which began on December 20 and, faced with multiple logistical problems, stretched over several days.

“Election heist”

In the end, during a single-round election and against around twenty other candidates, Félix Tshisekedi achieved a triumph, with more than 73% of the votes. Far behind came Moïse Katumbi, former governor of Katanga (south-east), with 18% of the vote, followed by the other opponent, Martin Fayulu (around 5%). Doctor Denis Mukwege, Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work with women victims of war rape, received only 0.22% of the vote.

After announcing the results of the presidential election on December 31, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) published on January 14 those of the legislative elections which, while also provoking protests, draw a majority for the “Sacred Union” formed around Of the president. The main opponents, who are calling for the outright cancellation of the elections, had planned a demonstration on December 27, but it was banned by the authorities and nipped in the bud by the police. Since then, accusations of fraud, cheating and other “electoral theft” have continued and fears of violence remain, in a country with a very turbulent political past.

On Thursday, Moïse Katumbi and Martin Fayulu reiterated their call for the cancellation of the vote and asked the Congolese to demonstrate their discontent on the day of the inauguration of the re-elected president, without however calling for marches or rallies, which they say are systematically repressed. According to AFP correspondents, some tires were burned early in the morning in Goma, capital of North Kivu (East), and young people tried to barricade streets in Beni, another town in the province. But the police quickly restored order.

After a truce during the elections, fighting rages again in North Kivu between the army and the M23 rebellion, supported by neighboring Rwanda. Since mid-December, a Southern African Community (SADC) force has been deployed in the region, succeeding an East African force dismissed by Kinshasa for alleged complacency towards rebels. This week, a Congolese officer said he was counting on her to help the DRC “recover the occupied territories”.