August 3, 2021

In the DRC, a controversial bill on the nationality of presidential candidates

A bill providing for the exclusion of candidates with a foreign parent from the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was tabled Thursday, July 8 in the National Assembly, we learned from its initiator, Noël. Tshiani.

The camp of a potential candidate for the next presidential election scheduled for the end of 2023, Moïse Katumbi, former governor of Katanga (south-east), born of a Congolese mother and a Greek father, whose supporters participate in the president’s new government Félix Tshisekedi denounced this initiative.

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“My proposal was submitted to the office of the National Assembly. It aims to block access to the office of President of the Republic which must be reserved exclusively for Congolese born to Congolese fathers and mothers ”, told AFP Mr. Tshiani, close to the head of state, who has already expressed his intention to stand again.

For Mr. Tshiani, former presidential candidate, several other functions (prime minister, royal ministers, presidents of assemblies, head of the army and the police, etc.) should only be exercised by Congolese born to fathers and mothers of Congolese origin.

“Instrumentalising the law on nationality”

The bill was tabled by deputy Nsingi Pululu of the Common Front for Congo (FCC) led by Joseph Kabila, predecessor of Mr. Tshisekedi, who told the press to benefit from “The support of 260 deputies” out of 500.

The camp of Mr. Katumbi, wealthy businessman and owner of the prestigious football club TP Mazembe, reacted strongly, accusing Mr. Tshisekedi and his party of seeking to “Exclude potential presidential candidates by instrumentalizing the law on nationality”.

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“Mr. Katumbi is not ready to get into this cart which wants to bring him to the guillotine”, told AFP Olivier Kamitatu, chief of staff of Mr. Katumbi.

Accusing the presidential camp “To prepare an election parody in order to install an autocratic regime”, Mr. Kamitatu felt that submitting this bill to Parliament for debate would be “The red line not to cross”. In June, tensions erupted in Lubumbashi (south-east), Mr. Katumbi’s stronghold.

The World with AFP