Let peace prevail in DRC

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has just been sworn in for his second five-year term following his triumph in hotly disputed elections. The Saturday ceremony was the culmination of his landslide victory in December elections, which his opponents have refused to recognise, alleging widespread irregularities.

Elections always present a tough challenge in many African countries and often spark violence, claiming lives and causing a lot of destruction.

President William Ruto and his predecessor, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been engaged in peace missions in the East and Central African region, were in Kinshasa for the occasion. It was also a demonstration of solidarity with the DRC, which is a member of the East African Community (EAC).

The Congolese have suffered violence over the years, with armed groups waging war against the government. Eastern Congo has for a long time been the epicentre of the insecurity that has often drawn in neighbouring countries, including Uganda and Rwanda.

The election authorities have acknowledged that there were some issues, but denied that it was stolen.

This election may not have been perfect but it is a huge improvement over the chaotic past experiences. The losers are aggrieved, but President Tshisekedi should extend the olive branch to them. Instead of rejecting the results and taking up arms, those who lost the elections and other groups that did not support the re-election should give peace a chance.

The presence of other heads of state and foreign envoys, including those from the United States, China and France, confirm international interest in helping to bring about peace. Those protesting against the results must do so within the law.

DRC is a huge regional market and trading partner in the EAC and its stability matters to all neighbouring countries. It is now time to heal electoral wounds and leaders should play a key role in forging national reconciliation.