Congo oppn pledges unity and joint candidate at rally


Seven key opposition leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo pledged unity and promised to back a single candidate against President Joseph Kabila’s chosen successor in December’s election.
Such an outcome would increase the chances of Kabila’s opponents defeating Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a former interior minister under European Union sanctions for his role in human rights abuses. The December 23 poll is a one-round contest and multiple candidates would split the anti-Shadary vote.
“The opposition must be united behind a candidate that we will choose and that we will support,” Jean-Pierre Bemba told thousands of people in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa.
Only four of the seven politicians can run for the presidency. Bemba, who finished second to Kabila in 2006, was disqualified by the electoral agency and Moise Katumbi, a onetime ally of the president who’s been in self-imposed exile for more than two years, was blocked by Congolese authorities in August from returning to the country to file his candidacy. The electoral commission also excluded Adolphe Muzito, a former prime minister. Bemba and Katumbi addressed the crowd from abroad by phone.
Out of the rally’s organisers permitted to challenge Shadary, the best established candidates are Felix Tshisekedi, the leader of Congo’s largest opposition party, and Vital Kamerhe, who finished third
in the 2011 election. Tshisekedi said the identity of the single candidate would soon be revealed.

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