By Goodluck Musinguzi
The military high command of DR Congo’s M23 rebel group has installed a new president, Bertrand Bisiimwa, after Bishop Jean-Marie Runiga was relieved of his duties last week.
Hundreds of people attended the function at the Bunagana border post, where the base of the M23 leadership sits, on Thursday.
Brig. Sultan Makenga, who was the acting president, handed over to Bisiimwa at 1:00pm local time and paid allegiance to the civilian leader.
Bisiimwa listened on to the proceedings quietly in the VIP tent. His face lit with glee when the Emcee announced his name.
He bowed and waved to the people in attendance and majestically marched to the dais prepared for him.
Makenga said in the two days running up to announcement, several potential names were discussed and the best candidate finally has been selected.
The newly-appointed leader has been the Chief of Communications and was part of the delegation that has been taking part in the Kampala talks aimed at finding a lasting solution to the Congo crisis.
Rene Abandi has been named to replace Francoise Rucongoza as the head of the M23 delegation in Kampala.
With no military experience, Bisiimwa has been active in the political wings of RCD-Goma, and CNDP (National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) movement that was led by renegade Gen. Laurent Nkunda who was later arrested.