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Sunday, May 31, 2020

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DR Congo opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi says not Kabila ally

Felix Tshisekedi, the main Congolese presidential contender and opposition leader, rejected suggestions that he might make a deal with President Joseph Kabila and accept the post of prime minister under him

Felix Tshisekedi, alongside exiled businessman Moise Katumbi one of the two main contenders running against President Kabila in the highly anticipated election in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has disputed that he might accept the post of prime minister.

Rumours are doing the rounds that he was offered the position by President Kabila as a way to appease him.

“There is no dialogue about a prime ministerial post,” Tshisekedi told the cheering crowd. “The (party) elected me to be its presidential candidate, so how can I be lowered to prime minister? Rather, let me be led to the final victory in the presidential election.”

Since Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his constitutional mandate in December 2016, dozens have died in protests, most of whom were shot dead by security forces. In addition, with the death of Etienne Tshisekedi, the 84-year-old, long-time opposition leader and force for political openness in Congo, the country’s hopes for multi-party democracy seemed even further out of reach.

Fortunately, many opposition politicians joined a power-sharing government under Etienne Tshisekedi’s son, who is stacking up to be a great rival to President Kabila, given the president’s weak and divided support base.

Tshisekedi has also echoed the sentiments of donors when he voiced his concern about the use of new electronic voting machines, which are felt to be untested and vulnerable to fraud. The government reacted by threatening to reject foreign aid for the poll, saying that donors’ conditions amounted to “foreign interference”.

“Their [the government’s] machine is a machine for cheating. The electoral register is corrupt and merits a serious audit,” Tshisekedi said.

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