Two Congolese opposition candidates withdraw to back Katumbi

Two opposition candidates for Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election next month said on Monday they would drop out and back another opposition candidate, Moise Katumbi, following a move made by another aspirant last week.

2023 11 20T153255Z 1 LYNXMPEJAJ0KW RTROPTP 4 CONGO ELECTION scaled
FILE PHOTO: Democratic Republic of Congo's opposition Presidential candidate Moise Katumbi talks to his supporters after leaving the prosecutor's office in Lubumbashi, the capital of Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe//File Photo

Two opposition candidates for Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential election next month said on Monday they would drop out and back another opposition candidate, Moise Katumbi, following a move made by another aspirant last week.

Seth Kikuni and Franck Diongo are the latest opposition candidates to throw their support behind 58-year-old Katumbi, a millionaire businessman and former governor of the copper-rich Katanga region.

Katumbi’s campaign is scheduled to kick off on Monday in the northern city of Kisangani. He has promised to fight graft, create jobs and reform the economy of the world’s largest producer of battery material cobalt and a major copper producer.

Congo’s former prime minister Augustin Matata Ponyo said he would back Katumbi on Sunday following the recommendations of leading opposition parties.

Representatives of those parties met in South Africa last week to discuss how to protect the Dec. 20 general election from fraud and decide on a potential joint candidate to challenge President Felix Tshisekedi, 60.

A crowded opposition field of 25 candidates is currently enlisted to face Tshisekedi, who is seeking a second term.

They are concerned about the fairness of the vote, alleging irregularities that play in favour of the ruling coalition during voter registration. The electoral commission denies this.

Kikuni said in a statement posted on X that Ponyo’s decision reflected the importance of “transcending our egos” and prioritising the nation’s interests.

Tshisekedi, who began his re-election bid on Sunday, urged voters to give him another mandate to consolidate his achievements after a first term mired by economic hardship and spiralling insecurity.

His main challengers include Katumbi, old rival Martin Fayulu, a 66-year-old former Exxon Mobil executive who came a disputed second in the last 2018 presidential contest, and first-time runner Denis Mukwege, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning gynaecologist. Their campaigns are also set to begin on Monday.

More than 43 million registered voters are eligible to take part in the general election.

More from Qonversations

Politics

46793131 d9ca 408e 8565 541e6cfcfe27

Chad’s Deby sworn in as president after three years of military rule

Politics

Macron New Caledonia leaders

Macron commits French troops to New Caledonia amid protests over voting reforms

Politics

26510622153 22c7173410 b

John Swinney Emerges as Front-Runner for First Minister of Scotland

Politics

2024 04 15T130246Z 1609167890 RC2467AFMYJ7 RTRMADP 3 INDIA ELECTION FUNDING

Indian PM promises more jobs ahead of April general election

Front of mind