Kabila upholds control as Tshisekedi is baulked from taking oath publicly

The much expected inauguration ceremonies in DRC have passed without major surprises. Kabila has sworn before the CENI, the Supreme Court, and the Senate President (and opposition candidate) Leon Kengo wa Dondo for his second official (and third real, after having already been President between 2001 and 2006 during the “transition” period) term. The ceremony was highly securitised  by Republican Guards and military personnel with the results that opposition protest simply did not occur (apart from, maybe, minor demonstrations, but mostly at small scale level outside or in the poorer boroughs of the capital).

A few days later, major contender Tshisekedi wanted to counter Kabila’s swearing in by taking his own oath at the Stade des Martyrs, which was unsurprisingly occupied by military and Kabila loyalists, as Tshisekedi remained in Limété neighbourhood and did the ceremony at home, accompanied by several supporters and UDPS officials.

While Kabila is certainly satisfied to have gained large “institutional” adavantage in having passed the official path to his next presidential term, Tshisekedi still does not seem to accept his defeat (which is of course, far from being credible) and continues a desperate, though still peaceful fight for his campaign.

Meanwhile the counting of the parliamentary elections has been stopped for reasons not completely spelt out. Either, international pressure has grown that much that CENI/Kabila faction may now allow tutelle-style supervision by the so far somewhat idle international ‘community’ or it will turn out as another generic authoritative strategy of the government institutions… This, though, might take some days to come to precise.

Otherwise, human rights organisations such as HRW report rising numbers of casualties (around 20 since elections results proclamation) and unspecified rise in arbitrary and mysterious detentions, affirming that the political climate is deteriorating further, but on the other side open clashes and large-scale civilian casualties are not in sight at this point, although they had been predicted by several (ill-informed) Western mass media.

With that very brief update, I will leave it at that for now, wishing all my Congolese family and friend very peaceful and calm season’s holidays while I will be continuing to provide information and comment on DRC from next year on. Finally, thanks a lot to the immense number of readers that made me enthusiastically update this blog during the last months!

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