“I will put all my energy as a leader to achieve our goal, which is the profound transformation of our country in order to build together a prosperous Congo for all.”
This is the ambition that Moses Katumbi expressed on December 18, after the two day meeting that led to the official creation of his new political party, Ensemble pour la République.
All of the G7 member formations – a group of seven parties that had quit the former presidential majority in 2015 to call for elections in December 2016 – have merged in this new part, with the notable exception of Avenir du Congo, the movement of Dany Banza, who has become one of President Felix Tshisekedi’s roving ambassadors.
In addition to these, there is the National Party for Democracy and Development (NDP), led by Solomon Idi Kalonda, a senior adviser to Moses Katumbi.
Pierre Lumbi, Joseph Kabila’s former special adviser on security matters, is secretary-general of the new party.
- “President Katumbi, it is thanks to you that Martin Fayulu was elected (…) and I assure you that in 2023, you will win the presidency,” he said. He also announced that the “Together for Change” election platform, which he created in South Africa, will continue to exist.
- “Together for Change exists like other platforms, such as the Common Front for Congo (FCC) and Cap pour le Changement (Cach),” he said. He also announced that the new party is a member of the Lamuka opposition coalition, which supported Martin Fayulu’s candidacy in the 2018 presidential election.
What are the consequences for the opposition?
By creating his own party, Moïse Katumbi could have several objectives in mind.
- On the one hand, to try to take the leadership of the opposition, while creating a militant base.
- Katumbi also intends to strengthen his image as a “politician” — currently public opinion perceives him more as a businessman.
Ensemble pour la République will also give Moïse Katumbi additional room for manoeuvre in Parliament, as well as in the Provincial Assemblies.
It remains to be seen what effect this strategy will have on the opposition. Will it strengthen its unity, or on the contrary accelerate its fragmentation?
Either way, it reveals, once again, Moses Katumbi’s desire to make his mark on the political scene by 2023.
This article first appeared in Jeune Afrique.
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