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African presidents 'snub' Uhuru in DR Congo's historic swearing-in

Sheppernard N. Mosomi
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President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. [Photo/Onyango]

President Uhuru Kenyatta was the only president across the African continent who graced the historic swearing-in of Felix Tshisekedi as Democratic Republic of Congo's president.

After decades of civil war, DR Congo witnessed first major smooth transition of power, in an event which saw Mr Tshisekedi, a son to former opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, call for unity.

In his inaugural address, Tshisekedi called for “a reconciled Congo” following the contentious election that saw him narrowly defeat another opposition leader, Martin Fayulu, and Kabila’s hand-picked successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

“We want to build a strong Congo, turned toward its development in peace and security. A Congo for all, in which everyone has a place,” he said. 

And Uhuru, whose recent partnership with Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga has elevated him to one of senior statesmen, greeted thousands of Congolese who attended the event that was given a wide berth.

While other Heads of State across Africa decided to snub the event, Raila Odinga, who was appointed recently as African Union High Representative for Infrastructural Development, attended also the event. It's not however clear on the capacity in which he attended.

EAC, SADC and UN had refused to recognize Tshisekedi's victory but Uhuru and Raila are said to have lobbied for his recognition. He takes over from Joseph Kabila, who has been at the helm for 18 years.

Accompanying Uhuru also were Kalonzo Musyoka, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi, Cecil Mbarire and Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina.

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