Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Zimbabwe President Mugabe Attends Inauguration of Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo

President attends Kabila's inauguration

Wednesday, 21 December 2011 00:16

PRESIDENT Mugabe joined thousands of Congolese yesterday to witness the swearing in of DRC President Joseph Kabila in Kin­shasa. President Kabila was last week confirmed winner of the November 28 elections by that country's Supreme Court.

Opposition leader Mr Etienne Tshisekedi has however, rejected the poll outcome. He is planning his own inauguration on Friday.

In his speech at the AU Village in Kinshasa, President Kabila pledged to safeguard national unity and allow himself to be guided only by respect for human rights.

He praised the Congolese for their "political maturity" since the start of the electoral process.

"You were given a choice between fanciful promises and inflammatory rhetoric on the one hand and the consolidation of peace and stability on the other hand," he said.

"We are going to pursue an improvement of the business climate to better serve investors. We are also going to pursue and accelerate the reconstruction of the country."

He said reconstruction will focus on com­munication infrastructure in the vast country, which is over half the size of the European Union. It will also include such projects as building hospitals and schools.

President Kabila said the electoral process represented the first time in Congo's history that a presi­dential mandate had ended without a crisis and praised citizens for their discipline.

"You were asked to choose on the one hand between an illusory promise based on incen­diary language, and on the other hand the consolidation of peace and stability."

President Kabila won 48.95 percent of the vote, while Mr Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress got 32.33 per­cent.

President Mugabe in DRC

Speaking to journalists after the inaugura­tion ceremony, President Mugabe said: "We are one with them (Congolese) as they cele­brate the victory and his party and having won, and won thunderously against Tshisekedi. He has won a democratic election.

"This must send a clear message to those who had other ideas. Any attempt to under­mine that democratic Government will be resisted by Africa, Sadc and Zimbabwe which has been a partner to the Congolese people."

The result has been recognised in Zim­babwe, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Burundi and the Central African Republic.

The South African Foreign Ministry said the Congolese elections were conducted in accordance with the country's electoral law, the principles of the Southern Africa Develop­ment Community and those of the African Union.

The US government has however, said the polls were flawed.

This was the second presidential election since a 1998-2003 war that claimed over 5 mil­lion people and was seen as key to cementing gains in a country that lies on the bottom of the UN index for human development, a measure of average wealth, education and life expectancy.

President Kabila assumed power after his father, Laurent, was assassinated in 2001.
He later won elections in 2006, in polls set by the UN.

Ambassadors and ministers from South Africa, Gabon, Burundi, Botswana, China, Mozambique, Lesotho, Egypt, Cuba, Russia, Togo, Namibia and Chad witnessed the cere­mony.

President Mugabe and his delegation flew back home last night.

- Herald Reporter/AFP/Xin­hua/Reuters.

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