Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege will join a growing list of candidates looking to unseat Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi in elections scheduled for December.
Mukwege, a gynecological surgeon famous for his work with victims of Congo’s conflicts, announced his candidacy Monday in Kinshasa, the capital. The doctor joins a field of established candidates that will likely include a former prime minister and the owner of one of Africa’s most successful soccer clubs.
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Opposition leader Martin Fayulu will also submit his candidacy this week, he said over the weekend. Fayulu rejected the results of the 2018 presidential election after leaks from Congo’s electoral commission and the Catholic Church suggested he was the likely victor.
The men will vie to unseat Tshisekedi, who ascended to the presidency in 2019 after brokering a power-sharing arrangement with supporters of his predecessor, Joseph Kabila.
Tshisekedi broke with Kabila in 2021 and has overseen a sustained period of economic growth, particularly in Congo’s world-class copper and cobalt industries. The government’s budget has increased exponentially since he took power, allowing the president to expand free education programs and initiate a nationwide infrastructure program.
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However Tshisekedi has struggled to quell multiple violent conflicts in Congo’s east, Mukwege’s home region, where millions are displaced due to fighting among dozens of armed groups.
Moise Katumbi, a politician, businessman and soccer club owner, and former Prime Minister Matata Ponyo are both expected to run.