Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, right, receives the presidential sash from outgoing president Joseph Kabila after being sworn in in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Thursday Jan. 24, 2019.
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, right, receives the presidential sash from outgoing president Joseph Kabila after being sworn in in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Thursday Jan. 24, 2019.

New Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi was sworn in Thursday but fell ill during his inaugural speech.

Thousands of the new president's supporters and outgoing President Joseph Kabila were present as Tshisekedi took the oath of office in Kinshasa.

Tshisekedi began to speak but state television cut away from the president before he finished his remarks.

Reuters news agency reports that aides sat Tshisekedi down in a chair and brought him water.  It says the president later returned to the podium and explained he was exhausted by the long election process and the emotion of the occasion.

Congo Poised to Inaugurate New President From Opposition

Tshisekedi, 55, is the son of Congo's longtime opposition leader and leads the opposition UDPS party.  His inauguration marks the first peaceful transfer of power in Congo's nearly 60-year history as an independent nation.

He was declared the winner of the December 30 election that was delayed several times.  Runner up Martin Fayulu has contested the results, saying Kabila conspired with the electoral commission to give victory to Tshisekedi.