By Ebi Kesiena
On Monday, two opposition candidates vying for the upcoming presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo announced their withdrawal from the race, pledging their support to another opposition candidate, Moise Katumbi.
Seth Kikuni and Franck Diongo are the latest opposition figures to endorse 58-year-old Katumbi, a wealthy entrepreneur and former governor of the copper-rich Katanga region.
As the country officially kicked off a month-long election campaign on Sunday, featuring 25 candidates running for president, the support for Katumbi continues to grow among opposition ranks. With 44 million registered voters out of a population of nearly 100 million, the presidential election is scheduled for December 20.
Moise Katumbi launched his campaign in the northern city of Kisangani on Monday, emphasizing his commitment to combat corruption, generate employment, and reform the economy of the world’s leading producer of battery material cobalt and a significant copper producer.
The decision by Seth Kikuni and Franck Diongo to back Katumbi aligns with the broader efforts of leading opposition parties.
Last week, representatives of these parties convened in South Africa to discuss strategies for safeguarding the integrity of the December 20 general election and to consider a potential joint candidate to challenge President Felix Tshisekedi, who is seeking a second term at the age of 60.
Amid a crowded field of 25 opposition candidates, concerns persist about the fairness of the vote, with allegations of irregularities favoring the ruling coalition during voter registration, although these claims are denied by the electoral commission.
However, President Felix Tshisekedi, launching his re-election bid on Sunday, appealed to voters to grant him another mandate to build on his achievements despite economic challenges and escalating insecurity during his first term.
His primary challengers include Moise Katumbi, longtime rival Martin Fayulu, a 66-year-old former Exxon Mobil executive, and first-time candidate Denis Mukwege, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning gynecologist.
Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines