Felix Tshisekedi has officially been inaugurated again as the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after winning his re-election on December 20th, 2023, with 73% of the vote. His inauguration has gone ahead despite claims of election fraud from opposition leaders, who did not file any legal challenge disputing his victory.
Opposition leaders had called upon their supporters to protest Tshisekedi’s inauguration, however Kinshasa’s streets, the capital of the DRC, witnessed no such protests. Goma, a border city in the eastern DRC, reportedly saw some anti-Tshisekedi protests in which some tires were burned, however they were rather limited. Beni, a town also within the eastern DRC, saw some protests in which youth tried to set up some barricades. Police intervened and dismantled the barricades.
Tshisekedi’s inauguration was attended by a number of different African heads of state, which was held in the Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa. The stadium’s stands, which have a capacity for 80,000 people, were packed well before the inauguration had even began.
— Hakainde Hichilema (@HHichilema) January 20, 2024
The Road Ahead
Felix Tshisekedi’s election in 2019 marked the very first democratic transfer of power since the nation gained independence from Belgium in 1960. While his Presidency has shown steps in the right direction for the DRC, he continues to face a series of challenges. Many of these challenges are the same which he faced upon his initial election in 2019.
Primarily, Tshisekedi continues to face significant instability in the east, as well as nation-wide poverty. Promises to solve these issues is largely what he was first elected upon, promises he has thus far largely failed to deliver upon.
However the DRC has the potential to begin improving, with the DRC’s admittance to the East African Community providing economic opportunities, and Tshisekedi exploring a number of different avenues to bring security to the east, where over 100 different armed groups operate.
He will have five years to do so. This is his second term, and the DRC has a two term limit for presidents.
The DRC is a nation said to have incredible mineral wealth within its borders, however the instability and exploitation which has marred it’s history has prevented the majority of the populace from benefitting from this wealth potential. As such, the DRC is ranked among the five poorest nations in the world, according to the World Bank.