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DRC Elections: The Perennial Challenge of Selecting a Single Opposition Candidate

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Ebenezer Mensah
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DRC Elections: The Perennial Challenge of Selecting a Single Opposition Candidate

In a recent analysis by Sango ya bomoko, a segment of Kinshasa News Lab, the recurring challenge of selecting a single opposition candidate in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was addressed. This issue becomes prominent every five years during election periods. Titled 'Candidat unique de l'opposition : le sempiternel problème difficile à résoudre tous les cinq ans', the analysis was conducted by journalist and analyst Ange Kasongo.

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Historical Perspective and Key Figures

The report reflects on the events of November 11, 2018, when opposition leaders convened in Switzerland in an attempt to choose a common candidate. Despite well-intentioned efforts, the leaders' ability to unite behind a single figure was questioned, largely due to personal egos. The report highlights key figures such as Jean-Pierre Bemba, whose candidacy was blocked due to a conviction by the International Criminal Court, and Moise Katumbi, who entered political exile after denouncing an unconstitutional third term.

Other significant contenders included Felix Tshisekedi, who inherited a large political party from his father, and Vital Kamerhe, who had a noteworthy performance in the 2011 presidential election. Martin Fayulu was another figure who relied on his proximity to citizens and his activist background to garner support.

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Failure to Present a United Front

The analysis points out that in 2011, the opposition failed to present a united front during the elections. Five years later, the situation was no different, despite meetings held in Pretoria to identify a unifying candidate. This lack of unity within the opposition is seen as a major stumbling block to their success in the elections.

As the electoral process continues and the upcoming elections on December 20 loom, the opposition's ability to overcome this challenge remains uncertain. It will be interesting to see how they navigate these issues in their bid to present a formidable challenge to the incumbent, President Félix Tshisekedi, who is seeking a second term.

Meanwhile, as the DRC government and CENI remain silent on Angola's offer to assist in delivering electoral material, public debate and criticism continue to rise. This backdrop adds another layer of complexity to an already intricate electoral process.

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