Tshisekedi endorsed to run for DR Congo presidency
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi has officially been named candidate for the presidential elections scheduled for December 20 this year, ruling out any contests within his ruling coalition, but not necessarily ending competition.
The Coalition known in French as L’Union Sacree de la Nation (Sacred Union of the Nation held its first-ever congress last Sundayin Kinshasa with a number of prominent figures attending the meeting.
They included allies of President Felix Tshisekedi such as Modeste Bahati, Speaker of the Senate, Christophe Mboso, Speaker of the National Assembly, Sama Lukonde, Prime Minister, and Jean-Pierre Bemba, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of defence.
All dressed in white, they pledged their support for Felix Tshisekedi’s candidacy.
“All the members of the Sacred Union of the Nation resolutely undertake to support the candidacy of President of the Republic, thus designated and invested before, during and after his election on December 20, 2023,” they declared.
This declaration was inked as article 2 of the Congress resolution, which was read out by Andre Mbata, the First Deputy Chair of the National Assembly.
“We are going to send a signal both nationally and internationally of our unity, determination and commitment to these elections on December 20, 2023,” said Prime Minister Sama Lukonde.
In his speech, Christophe Mboso explained why the Sacred Union had chosen Tshisekedi. Mboso praised “the visible achievements” of President Felix Tshisekedi.
”With less than 100 days to go to the General Election in the DRC, almost all Congolese are preparing for the event. But President Tshisekedi may not celebrate yet. While clinching the coalition presidency signals a united front, he faces challenges in eastern DRC where continual violence have eaten into his promises to stabilise the country,” he said.
In North Kivu, on Sunday, several sources reported violent fighting. Bertrand Bisimwa, Chairperson of the M23 rebels, accused the Congolese army (FARDC of starting the fighting in Kirolwire, Kibarizo, Busumba and Kirumbu, villages in North Kivu, in the east of the DRC.
The two sides had for the last seven months maintained some relative ceasefire following a mediated arrangement by regional leaders under a programme known as the Luanda Process.
But tension had always remained especially since President Tshisekedi considers M23 as terrorists.Other sources in North Kivu claim there had been fighting between the Wazalendo self-defence group and the M23.
Just over a week ago, Congolese Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula ordered the rebels to withdraw from the territories they occupy, to allow displaced people to return to their villages to register to take part in the forthcoming elections.
“All areas still occupied by M23 rebels will soon be liberated,” promised Maj-Gen Bruno Mpezo Mbele, commander of the 34th military region, on Saturday.
The interim governor of North Kivu, Maj-Gen Peter Chririmwami, declared that “the army would repel the enemy.”