DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO – After the withdrawal of one of them on Sunday, 25 candidates, including the outgoing president, are in the running for the presidential election scheduled for December 20 in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the same time as legislative, provincial and municipal elections. Here are the main ones:
Félix Tshisekedi, 60, became president five years ago after a controversial election that another opponent, Martin Fayulu, claims he won. He is the leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), which was also the party of his father, the historic opponent Etienne Tshisekedi, who died in 2017.
Upon coming to power, Félix, known as “Fatshi”, improved his image abroad, breaking with the isolationism of his predecessor Joseph Kabila. He also promised to improve the lives of the Congolese, to fight corruption and to do everything to bring peace to the east of the country. He did not achieve his objectives, recognizing that much remains to be done, but he is the favourite against an opposition which, barring any twists and turns, presents itself divided in the single-round election.
Moïse Katumbi, 58, is a wealthy businessman, boss of the renowned Lubumbashi (south-east) football club Tout Puissant Mazembe and former governor (2007-2015) of the mining province of Katanga, the economic heart of the country, where he was born. His father was Italian, which made him a prime target for the heralds of “Congolity” , whose leader also tried to have his candidacy invalidated.
Leader of the “Together for the Republic” party, he highlights his business successes and his record in Katanga, with construction of roads, schools and development of agriculture, to assert that he will know how to manage the country.
Martin Fayulu, 66 years old (67 on November 21), is the leader of the Ecidé party (Commitment to Citizenship and Development). This former executive of an oil major wants his revenge. For five years, his supporters have referred to him as “the president-elect” , since according to them the victory was stolen from him in the 2018 election. Once again affirming his conviction that the dice will be loaded for that of next December, he for a time maintained the suspense over his candidacy, which he finally confirmed on September 30.
Denis Mukwege , 68, gynecologist, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2018 for his work with raped women, is a long-time critic of power and continues to demand justice for the victims of armed violence in his country.
“The man who repairs women”, a nickname inherited from a documentary dedicated to him, has no political basis and was slow to launch. He finally announced on October 2 that he would be a candidate, denouncing “the corrupt and predatory practices” which keep the majority of Congolese in poverty. Son of a Pentecostal pastor, he is originally from South Kivu (east), where he runs a hospital.
Adolphe Muzito, 66, is a former Prime Minister (2008-2012) of Joseph Kabila, also a former Minister of Budget and ex-inspector of Finance, leader of the “Nouvel Elan” party, former ally of Martin Fayulu in the Lamuka coalition.
Delly Sesanga, 53, lawyer, deputy for Luiza (Kasaï central) and leader of the Envol party (Together of volunteers for the development of the DRC), supported the candidacy of Félix Tshisekedi in 2018, of whom he became a virulent critic, denouncing “his inability to restore the country” and his “broken promises”.
The candidate who withdrew on Sunday is Augustin Matata Ponyo, 59, another former Prime Minister (2012-2016) of Joseph Kabila. Leader of the Leadership and Governance for Development (LGD) party, he decided to side with Moïse Katumbi.
Africanews with AFP