Losing candidate formally declares himself President in Congo


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The Independent Online

Congo's opposition leader, besieged in his Kinshasa home by security forces, swore a makeshift presidential oath yesterday as police battled in the streets outside with his rock-throwing supporters.

President Joseph Kabila was officially inaugurated on 20 December to a new term as head of the vast central African state, after winning a disputed November election that opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi derided as fraudulent.

"We consider [that Tshisekedi has] been sworn in," said Remy Masamba, a spokesman for Mr Tshisekedi's UDPS party. "I am sure that shortly he will communicate how the institutions will work and how the country will be run."

A top Kabila adviser called the move a "political farce" and said Mr Tshisekedi could face charges. "Anyone who makes pantomime politics and declares himself President will have to face the law of the land," Congo's Ambassador to London, Kikaya Bin Karubi, said.

Mr Tshisekedi had sought to hold his inauguration at a Kinshasa stadium, but security forces blocked the area around his house and deployed tanks and the Republican Guard to the stadium.