DRC: Félix Tshisekedi already on 2023 campaign trail in Greater Kasaï

By Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala
Posted on Monday, 3 January 2022 08:30

DRC President Félix Tshisekedi
Democratic Republic of Congo's President Félix Tshisekedi delivers a speech prior to a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Two years from the end of his first term, Félix Tshisekedi, who has declared his candidacy for the next presidential election, is already trying to secure the support of his home base.

Scenes of jubilation, huge crowds … at each stage of his visit in Greater Kasai; the reception is impressive. But it not surprising.

This is the president in his home land. A stronghold where none of his rivals, neither Martin Fayulu, nor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, had dared to go during the presidential campaign of 2018.

For over a week now, the Congolese president has been crisscrossing the roads of this region in the centre of the country.

On 24 December, he began in Mbuji-Mayi, the capital of Kasaï Oriental, before continuing through the other provinces of the region. After Lomami, he was to arrive this December 31 in Kananga, in the former Kasaï Occidental.

Many promises

The region is in dire need of infrastructure. The precarious situation of the workers in this mining region, non-existent roads, lack of water and electricity was visible to the Congolese president.

According to Tshisekedi’s entourage, his presence on Kasaï soil should boost development projects.

These include the construction of the 150km of road linking Tshikapa to Kandjaji on the border with Angola as part of the “hundred days project”, the rehabilitation of urban roads, development of the Batshiamba-Tshikapa road, rehabilitation of the Loange bridge in a state of abandonment… the promises are numerous.

Tshisekedi also announced the start of work on roads linking the various provinces, but also the imminent renovation of the airport of Mbuji-Mayi to open up of the region.

Look us in the eye

“I know your problems, your difficulties and your cries of distress have reached me,” said the president in front of crowds in Mbuji-Mayi. He scolded officials who “stole the money intended for the construction of infrastructure and the development of the provinces.” He added that he would make the fight against corruption one of his priorities and promised to “imprison” all those who had embezzled funds.

In the middle of his term, after denouncing his alliance with Joseph Kabila, the president finally has a free hand to govern as he pleases, he has not hidden his ambitions for the future. “In 2023, when I return for the election campaign, we will look each other in the eye to evaluate what we have achieved and ask for your votes for a second term.”

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