On October 2, 2023, Dr. Denis Mukwege publicly announced his decision to run for presidency in an address to the Nation to be held at the Hotel Fatima in Kinshasa and then filed his candidacy with the DRC electoral commission on October 3, 2023. His candidacy has been under the theme : "Candidate for Peace" (Le Candidat de la Paix). Since then, there were rumors that opposition candidates were planning to align behind a sole candidate. According to AfroAmerica Network sources, the rumors have become a reality. Now, the question is: who will be the candidate of the opposition? According to the sources, Dr. Denis Mukwege is the likely selected candidate. However, negotiations are on-going to make sure that the political agenda of each opposition leader will be taken into account in Dennis Mukwege's plan, if he is confirmed.
On May 17, 2023, Dr. Denis Mukwege, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, appointed a special advisor and other political leaders and activists within his closest team. The appointment of Congolese political figures as his closest advisors, raised the expectations that Dr. Denis Mukwege was ready for the next steps: a political career with the aim to become the next President of the DRC in the upcoming elections, planned in December 2023. (see DR Congo: Dr. Denis Mukwege Announces His Bid for the Next President).
Over the years, and especially in the months before he became a presidential candidate, Dr. Denis Mukwege had contacts with world leaders including French president Emmanuel Macron, the Pope, UK leaders, and USA leaders, including those attending the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 18-23 and 26 September 2023.
At the same time, he continued to meet other Congolese opposition leaders and potential presidential candidates, including former Prime-Minister Matata Mponyo, Martin Fayulu who is regarded as the true winner of the previous elections , Moîse Katumbi, and Dely Sessanga.
Rumors have been circulating that opposition leaders have been trying to form a coalition, with the aim to have a unified candidate to run against Felix Tshisekedi. Now, the path towards that goal has been confirmed.
Over the week of November 12 - 17, the representatives of the main opposition candidates for the presidency of 2023 met in Pretoria, South Africa. During the meetings, they formed a political coalition that they named Congo ya Makasi (Congo of Makasi), publicly announced on Friday November 17, 2023, The main candidates represented at the meetings are Martin Fayulu, Moïse Katumbi, Denis Mukwege, Matata Ponyo and Delly Sesanga.
The representatives of Martin Fayulu, an opposition leader who allegedly was the real winner of the previous elections, are still hesitating to join the coalition, expressing their concerns regarding the elections in general.
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Towards a Unique Opposition Candidate as Dynamics Following the Latest Invasion of DRC by Rwandan Military Intensify
Moïse Katumbi was represented by Olivier Kamitatu, Dr. Denis Mukwege by Jean-Pierre Muongo, and Matata Ponyo by Franklin Tshiamala.
During the meetings the representatives agreed on the political agenda and program and the criteria used to select their planned sole candidate, Dr, Dennis Mukwege.
The public announcement of the candidate of the Congo ya Makasi coalition is planned in upcoming days. According to sources, Martin Fayulu is also expected to join, when his conditions are accepted by the leaders already in the Congo ya Makasi. Meanwhile, he is apparently leaning towards cancelling the elections, given the lack of transparency, fairness, and credibility.
The candidacy of Dr. Dennis Mukwege under Congo ya Makasi is expected to fuel the multiple dynamics in the region, especially those rising from the current security situation in the DRC, due to the invasion of the Rwandan troops under the cover of M23 rebels.
As the 2023 presidential elections have approached, Dr. Dennis Mukwege has continued to reinforce his push for investigating and prosecuting war criminals, including troops from Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi, as well as regular Congolese troops and militia leaders.
At the same time, while denouncing the inaction and hypocrisy of the international community, he has raised a red flag on the on-going corruption of Congolese leaders, who have been focusing on enriching themselves while the Congolese people has been facing more than 30 years of wars, humanitarian tragedies, massacres, and genocides.
According to AfroAmerica Network sources who followed closely his trips and actions, in his recent trips to the US and Europe, Dr. Dennis Mukwege has raised the concerns with the leaders he met. He has also promised to implement fundamental changes in the DRC if he becomes the president.
Hence, he played a major role in the US Sanctions against a senior Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) commander for arming, funding and reinforcing M23 armed group and in the decision by the US State Department to end all military cooperation with Rwanda after adding the Rwandan government to the list of countries recruit, using, or sponsoring child soldiers, under the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA). Rwanda is the 19th country on the list.
His stands have increased his support among the Congolese people and activists, disappointed by the inefficacy of the current leaders in solving the challenges faced by the country, including fighting pervasive corruption, supporting the military and increasing the capacities to fight against invasion of the Rwandan troops and improve the economy.
His recent actions and public stances have continued to increase the odds to become the next DRC president, as he was ready to challenge the current President Felix Tshisekedi. Now, as the sole candidate of Congo ya Makasi, he will have even more political clout in DRC and around the world.
AfroAmerica Network is still following the dynamics and getting more information from several sources close to Dennis Mukwege and the leaders of DRC.
@AfroAmerica Network 2023
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