Saturday, April 13, 2024

Congo’s Bemba files presidential candidacy

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

The opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo Jean-Pierre Bemba on Thursday filed his candidacy for December’s presidential election.

The Congolese opposition leader returned home on Wednesday after spending a decade in prison.

He was held in detention in The Hague on charges of war crimes. But he had his sentence reversed recently as he bids to run for president.

Bemba touched down at Kinshasa’s N’Djili airport. He was greeted by thousands of cheering supporters who wore T-shirts, hats, scarves and robes bearing his image.

The International Criminal Court overturned his conviction in 2016 for war crimes.

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Bemba was accused of allowing his forces to go on rampage in Central African Republic killing people in 2002 and 2003.

Jean-Pierre Bemba was nominated by his party for the December poll.

He will be leading the party into the Presidential elections and will now pose the biggest challenge to the ruling coalition.

Bemba wrote on his tweeter account after filing his documents that “I announce to you that I will be your candidate in the 2018 presidential election”.

The ruling coalition says Bemba should be declared ineligible to stand in the presidential election because of a witness tampering conviction at The Hague.

The constitutional court is however the institution that will decides who can contest the election.

Fate of Kabila

Candidate registration has opened but it is still not clear if President Joseph Kabila who has been banned running will commit to doing so.

He has not publicly commented on his political future although the Prime minister of the country has assured Kabila will not run for office again.

Bemba was President Joseph Kabila’s vice during a 2003-06 transitional government.

He came second to Kabila in a 2006 election that sparked violence.

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