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“Voice of the people” will be heard no matter the date of the election, says Congo’s leading opposition candidate

December 20, 2018

Leading Congolese opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi denounced Thursday the announcement of the postponement and later rescheduling for Dec. 30 of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s long-awaited presidential election, saying peace and democracy will win out no matter what the date.

“This latest delay is more games by the Kabila administration to subvert the will of the Congolese people. The people have waited a long time and suffered greatly to bring about the first peaceful transfer of power in decades. We will win this election, we will overcome and the voice of the people of the Congo will be heard regardless of the date of the vote,” said Tshisekedi Thursday.

Tshisekedi also called on the international community to respond to this latest delay by seeking permission to bring independent election monitors to the Congo to ensure the validity of the December 30 vote.

“I as a candidate, the people of the Congo and the international community must do everything we can to erase all doubt that the will of the Congolese people will be expressed at the polls Dec. 30,” he said

The most recent comprehensive national poll in October showed Tshisekedi as the leading candidate with the support of 36 percent of the public. Tshisekedi called on other opposition parties and candidates Thursday to unify behind his candidacy and the UDPS party to ensure a split vote does not elect the current administration’s chosen successor.

“We must unify as a people and an opposition to end the rampant corruption and division we have suffered for nearly two decades,” he said.

Tshisekedi’s comments follow a tumultuous day in the Congo as early news reports indicated the Dec. 23 election had been canceled indefinitely, with later reports indicating it had been rescheduled for Dec. 30.

The term of incumbent President Joseph Kabila ended in December 2016. However, the Kabila administration had refused to allow an election to choose a new president until recently announcing he would step down and that an election had been scheduled for December 23. That election has now been rescheduled for Dec. 30.

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