Newly inaugurated Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has pledged to unify his country.
Mr. Kabila took the oath of office Tuesday in Kinshasa, following last month's election that international observers say had many irregularities and which has been rejected as fraudulent by the opposition.
But Congo’s information Minister Lambert Mende says the Mr. Kabila was legitimately re-elected by the Congolese people.
“He has been sworn in as the president of all Congolese. He made a speech to assure all those who elected him as well as those who didn’t elect him,” he said.
But spokesman and director of cabinet for opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, Albert Moleka, says Tshisekedi is the legitimately elected president of the DRC and will be sworn-in this Friday.
“Mr. Tshisekedi will be sworn in as the president-elect of the DRC on Friday. It’s an announcement that he did express at his press conference last Sunday, and I can just confirm that,” Moleka said.
The U.S. said Tuesday it was "deeply disappointed" by Congo's decision to uphold the election results without fully evaluating widespread reports of irregularities.
A statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the election was seriously flawed and lacked transparency.
Moleka said Tshisekedi clearly won the November 28 election.
“Mr. Tshisekedi claimed to have won the election on the basis of the truth of the ballot, and the claim has always been to ask the Congolese authorities to make sure the ballot be respected and that can be done just a comparison of the different polling stations reports,” Moleka said.
But Information Minister Mende said Tshisekedi should have gone to the courts if he really believes he won the election.
“When an election is fraudulent, somebody who is challenging such an election has to go to the Supreme Court to challenge it. You cannot decide for yourself that an election is fraudulent and then you transformed yourself as a God,” he said.
Mende says the security forces in the capital, Kinshasa will stop anyone who tries to abuse Congo’s constitution, a reference to opposition leader Tshisekedi who has vowed to be sworn in as the legitimate president on Friday.
“It does not depend on President Kabila. It is the municipal authorities for the Province of Kinshasa who will stop such stupidity because is allowed to abuse our constitution,” Mende said.