Opposition Figure Set To Contest For Presidency Killed In DR Congo

Opposition Figure Set To Contest For Presidency Killed In DR Congo

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

The body of a Democratic Republic of Congo opposition deputy and former government minister was found riddled with bullets in the capital Kinshasa on Thursday 13 July 2023, officials said.

Cherubin Okende was a member of the party of Moise Katumbi, a leading opposition politician who is set to contest the presidential election in the central African nation in December.

An official in Katumbi’s team said that Okende, 61, had disappeared on Wednesday after travelling to an appointment at the constitutional court in Kinshasa.

Okende’s bullet-riddled body was subsequently found in his car on Thursday morning on one of the city’s main thoroughfares, the official added. “It’s a political assassination,” Katumbi told French radio broadcaster RFI. “They want to reduce us to silence.”

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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidency stated that Okende had died in “tragic circumstances”, and it urged an investigation to “shed full light on the matter and punish those responsible for this despicable act”.

Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya likewise tweeted that “the government was shocked to learn of the assassination” and that it had ordered a probe. The European Union said it “strongly condemns the assassination” of Okende.

he EU “calls on the authorities to shed light on the circumstances of this assassination and to bring those responsible to justice”, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

“Everything must be done so that the elections can develop in an atmosphere that allows them to be competitive, peaceful, inclusive and transparent.”

Okende was transport minister before he resigned from office in December at the same time as two other ministers in Katumbi’s camp. At the time, Katumbi had announced his presidential bid and withdrawn his Ensemble pour la Republique party from the ruling coalition.

President Felix Tshisekedi, who came to office in January 2019, is also due to stand for re-election. Several of the leading opposition figures, including Katumbi, have insisted the nation’s electoral authority is planning a fraudulent poll.

Congolese soldiers arrested one of Katumbi’s advisers, Salomon Kalonda, in late May, accusing him of illegal possession of a firearm and of plotting to overthrow the government.

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