Advertisment

Political Tensions Escalate in DRC Over Questions on Presidential Candidate's Nationality

author-image
Ebenezer Mensah
New Update
Political Tensions Escalate in DRC Over Questions on Presidential Candidate's Nationality

Political tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are on the uptick as Vice-Premier Ministre and Minister of National Defense, Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, challenges the nationality of Moise Katumbi, the leader of the political party 'Ensemble pour la Republique.'

Advertisment

Bemba voiced his concerns during an electoral campaign speech in Kinshasa on December 6, 2023, citing a letter from a Zambian opposition member that urged the Zambian government to penalize those who issued Katumbi a Zambian passport.

Questions Over Nationality

Bemba demanded Katumbi to clarify his nationality to the Congolese people and raised the issue of potential conflict of interest if Katumbi were to assume leadership of the DRC while holding dual nationality. This is of particular concern in hypothetical scenarios of conflict with Zambia. Bemba's ongoing tour across the country includes campaigning for the incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi's re-election in the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for December 2023.

Advertisment

A Dispute Amid an Electoral Campaign

This dispute arises amid the broader context of the electoral campaign, with allegations made against certain presidential candidates for being supported by regional state leaders involved in destabilizing the eastern part of the DRC. The electoral campaign is due to conclude on December 18, 2023, ahead of general elections. Bemba, who returned to the DRC in 2018 after being acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was previously barred from running for the presidency due to an ICC conviction for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The Opposition's Stand

In 2018, Bemba formed an alliance with Katumbi and other opposition leaders, but later allied with President Tshisekedi, while Katumbi remained with the opposition. Amidst this, Congolese presidential candidate Martin Fayulu claims the 2018 election was stolen from him and is campaigning with promises to end corruption and improve basic services. Fayulu, a frontrunner aiming to unseat President Tshisekedi, faces competition from former mining magnate and presidential hopeful Moise Katumbi. The opposition's inability to agree on a united candidate leads to uncertainty about the upcoming presidential election. The risks of election-related violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo are highlighted as the country prepares for national elections on December 20, and international partners are urged to press all sides to adhere to fair electoral conditions.

Advertisment
Advertisment