More DRC candidates drop presidential bids to back Moise Katumbi
Opposition groups met in SA to decide on a joint candidate ahead the December 20 elections
Kinshasa — Two opposition candidates for Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’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 Katumbi, a millionaire businessman and former governor of the copper-rich Katanga region.
Katumbi’s campaign kicked 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.
The DRC’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 SA last week to discuss how to protect the December 20 general election from fraud and decide on a potential joint candidate to challenge President Felix Tshisekedi.
A crowded opposition field of 25 candidates is 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, veteran rival Martin Fayulu, a former ExxonMobil executive who came a disputed second in the 2018 presidential contest, and first-time runner Denis Mukwege, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning gynaecologist. Their campaigns were also set to begin on Monday.
More than 43-million registered voters are eligible to take part in the election.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.