DRC opposition leader Katumbi launches presidential campaign
Opposition leader, Moise Katumbi, officially launched his campaign for president of the Democratic Republic of Congo at a rally in Kisangani, one month ahead of the election.
The 58-year-old millionaire businessman has promised to fight graft, create jobs, and reform the country’s ailing economy.
He has criticised incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi’s record in the DRC’s volatile east, where the army has been battling M23 rebels and other armed groups.
Katumbi claimed the president was recruiting foreign mercenaries instead of increasing the salaries of military and police.
“The current government has promised you a lot. I’m telling you that these stories will never be repeated. I’m telling you that we’re going to improve the conditions of our soldiers who must defend our country, and we’re going to drive out all these forces that are in our country,” he said at the rally.
Young people attending the rally in Kisangani said they were eager for change five years after Tshisekedi came to power in the disputed 2018 election that Katumbi was blocked from taking part in.
“They promised us security, nothing happened. They promised employment, nothing came. They promised road construction but nothing, they have done nothing good,” said Abdullah Simba.
Katumbi’s rally came a day after his two main competitors, Tshisekedi and opposition figure Martin Fayulu, started their campaigns ahead of the 20th December vote.
In 2018, Katumbi attempted to run for president but was thwarted by President Joseph Kabila’s government, which cancelled his Congolese passport while he was out of the country.
His critics this time question his eligibility for the presidency, alleging his father was not a Congolese citizen.
However, a top court last month threw out a lawsuit seeking to block Katumbi from running.
Several opposition candidates have withdrawn from the race and thrown their support behind him.