KINSHASA- On December 20, the Democratic Republic of the Congo will hold presidential elections in which 25 candidates, including the current incumbent, are vying for the country’s highest office.
The main contenders are listed below:
After winning a contentious election that another candidate, Martin Fayulu, insists he won, President Felix Tshisekedi assumed office in 2019.
Tshisekedi, the leader of the UDPS party, which was founded by his late father and was once a well-known opposition figure, is originally from the central Kasai region of DRC.
In contrast to his reclusive predecessor Joseph Kabila, Felix Tshisekedi has improved his reputation on the global stage by frequently traveling abroad.
Additionally, he vowed to enhance the lot of the underprivileged, combat corruption, and settle the eastern DRC’s conflict-torn region.
The 60-year-old, according to critics, has not kept his word. Tshisekedi, however, is thought to be the favorite to win in December due to the conflict in the opposition.
Rich businessman Moise Katumbi, 58, is the owner of Lubumbashi, in the southeast, and the football team TP Mazembe of the Congo.
He was formerly the governor of Katanga province, the DRC’s mineral-rich economic hub.
However, because his father was Italian, Katumbi is the target of critics who assert that he is not entirely Congolese. One of these critics tried in vain to stop Katumbi from running for office by petitioning the constitutional court.
Katumbi, the leader of the Together for the Republic party, contends that he is qualified to serve as president because of his track record of elevating Katanga to the position of provincial governor.
Former oil executive Martin Fayulu, 66, is the Ecide party’s leader. He demands retaliation.
His supporters have referred to him as the “president-elect” for the past five years, claiming that he actually won the 2018 election.
At first, it was n’t clear whether Fayulu would run because he has declared that the December election will be rigged. On September 30, he declared his candidacy.
Denis Mukwege, a well-known surgical gynecologist, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 in recognition of his work to eradicate sexual violence.
The 68-year-old has long been a scathing critic of the government and has pushed for justice for those who have died in the brutal east conflict on numerous occasions.
Mukwege, however, lacks a strong political foundation despite being well-known in the medical and humanitarian communities for his work with rape victims.
He announced his candidacy on October 2 and denounced the” corrupt and predatory practices” that keep the majority of Congolese people in poverty, putting an end to months of rumors about his political ambitions.
Mukwege, a hospital administrator from the eastern province of South Kivu, is the Pentecostal pastor’s son.
PONYO, AUGUSTIN MATATA
Under former president Joseph Kabila, 59-year-old Augustin Matata Ponyo held both the positions of finance minister and prime minister.
He denies the accusation that he embezzled public funds while serving as the LGD party’s leader. Hearings in a judge’s corruption case will now take place on March 18.
Matata announced on Sunday that he was withdrawing from the race following discussions in South Africa between five prominent opposition groups that sought to select a single candidate.
Adolphe Muzito was a former Kabila stalwart as well. He held a number of positions, including prime minister, minister of finance, and budget.
The 66-year-old is the leader of the former Martin Fayulu’s party coalition Nouvel Elan ( Fresh Start ) party.
Delly Sesanga, a 53-year-old lawyer and MP from Kasai-Central province, is the party’s leader.
He supported Tshisekedi for president in 2018, but he has since criticized him harshly for his “inability to straighten the country out” and broken promises.