DRC opposition make list of demands ahead of elections

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Former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba
Former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba

Leading Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leaders have demanded that former Katanga governor Moise Katumbi be allowed to contest the December 23 elections.

The opposition leaders have condemned the barring of Katumbi from filing his nomination two weeks ago.

Katumbi was due to file his presidential nominations before the August 8 deadline but authorities denied his plane landing rights and sent soldiers and policemen to the border when he attempted to enter the country by road.

In a joint communiqué issued on Monday night, six opposition leaders demand that Katumbi be allowed to participate in the election and have warned against plans to exclude former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba from the elections.

Bemba was recently acquitted by the International Criminal Court of war crimes.

While the leaders – Bemba, Félix Tshisekedi, Moise Katumbi, Vital Kamerhe, Martin Faylu Madidi and Freddy Matungulu – have welcomed the decision by incumbent Kabila not to seek re-election, they have put up a list of demands ahead of the polls.

Among the demands are “the immediate and unconditional lifting of this illegal measure as well as the return of Moses Katumbi Chapwe such that he can participate in the presidential elections of December 23 2018”.

The opposition leaders are also demanding the withdrawal of the voting machine by the Independent National Election Board (CENI) and a review of the voter register.

“We demand the scrutiny of the electoral rolls to eliminate those enrolled who are presumed to be fictitious, estimated by the group of experts of the OIF [Organisation internationale de la Francophonie] to be ten million of 40 024 897 registered voters,” the statement read.

Further, the liberation of political prisoners and detainees such as but not limited to Jean-Claude Muyambo, Franck Diongo, Diomi Ndongala and the activists of the movements Filimbi and Lucha is also a condition in the run up to the election.

“The return as free men and in complete safety from the Congolese security apparatus of those in exile, the freedom to meet and to conduct peaceful demonstrations, the reopening of the free press that has been closed and the fair access for all to the public media must be restored,” the joint statement said.

The opposition have also demanded the repatriation of the remains of fallen opposition leader president Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba to the DRC and also to grant him a national funeral befitting his status.

Kabila on his part has chosen Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary as his successor.

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