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Congo’s Etienne Tshisekedi Declares Himself President

  • James Butty

Veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi is seen at his residence in Kinshasa, Congo, June 2006. (file photo)

Veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi is seen at his residence in Kinshasa, Congo, June 2006. (file photo)

Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi says he will take the oath of office after declaring himself the country's rightful president.

DRC election officials said Tshisekedi lost last month's presidential election to incumbent Joseph Kabila.

But, on Sunday, Tshisekedi repeated his assertion that the vote counting process was flawed and that voters actually elected him president.

Albert Moleka, spokesman and director of cabinet for Tshisekedi, says the opposition leader will take the oath of office Friday.

“What Mr. Tshisekedi said is he is asking Congolese to consider that the will, as expressed in the ballot on the 28th of November, has been deformed on December 9th when Pastor Mulunda [Daniel Ngoy, of Congo’s electoral commission] announced the results,” he said.

The Supreme Court last week formally declared Kabila the winner with almost 49 percent of the vote to 32 percent for Tshisekedi confirming the results announced by the election commission on December 9.

Moleka said Tshisekedi wants the Congolese people to stop President Kabila from usurping what the people did not give him.

“What the Congolese people are saying, and what most observers are saying, is that what the electoral commission published on December 9th wasn’t the truth, and it wasn’t justice. It is clear Mr. Kabila didn’t [win] the election vote contest. Everybody knows that,” Moleka said.

He brushed aside the suggestion that Tshisekedi could be charged with treason for declaring himself president.

“Well, I think that’s one way of seeing things. On the other hand, can a law breaker become the guardian of the law? You cannot be the law breaker and at the same time the law guardian,” he said.

Moleka said Tshisekedi has the overwhelming support of the Congolese people.

‘The man [Tshisekedi] has been in the struggle for 30 years against three successive dictatorships with a nonviolent kind of strategy, and you would say that he’s not supported by the people?,” Moleka asked.

He said Congolese want democracy and they were glad when the international community recognized this yearning.

“What we are saying, actually, and we’re glad that, since last week, the United States people realized that the value we give to democracy is something that you brought to us. So, you should be the first to understand that the ballot is the essence of democracy,” Moleka said.