with Nyasha K Mutizwa
After ten years behind the bars of an International Criminal Court (ICC) prison, Congolese opponent Jean-Pierre Bemba made his first press briefing. Two days after his triumphant return to Kinshasa, the former warlord is calling on the government to calm things down for peaceful elections.
Another opponent Moïse Katumbi, who had announced his intention to return home on Friday morning to run for the presidency before the 8 August deadline, was banned from entering Congolese territory.
President Kabila, who is constitutionally barred from standing for re-election, has still not chosen his successor. According to the electoral calendar, the electoral commission must publish the final list of candidates on September 19.
I want to tell the authorities of the country to calm things down, to make sure that these elections which must be prepared are inclusive and that we find a solution so that Mr. Moïse Katumbi can return to the country.
Bemba’ popularity was proven Wednesday in Kinshasa when tens of thousands greeted his return, often with slogans hostile to the current head of state Joseph Kabila.