DRC CONGO: Deadly protests against pro-Kabila candidate in Tshikapa
Protesters disrupt Shadary rally, raid Kabila party office
Violence continues to disrupt the campaign process in the Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of Sunday’s presidential election, as at least one person died as residents of Tshikapa protested against a planned rally by Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.
The unrest in Tshikapa, a city in the restive central Kasai region, also saw the presidential party’s headquarters being ransacked, according to witnesses.
Details of how the victim died in Tshikapa were still emerging, but one local NGOsaid soldiers had opened fire to disperse protesting crowds in the city and shot a market woman in the head.
“The soldiers, who were supporting the police, opened fire to disperse the demonstrators. A woman who was selling embers at the Sokajik market was hit in the head,” said the head of a Congolese NGO which was on site.
The violence comes after at least one other person was killed and more than 80 injured in weekend clashes in the city, the latest unrest in the tense build-up to the December 23 ballot.
The rally by Shadary, the “pro-Kabila” candidate, was cancelled after the violence.
“The candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary will reschedule the visit to Tshikapa tomorrow or the day after tomorrow after assessing the security situation,” one of his relatives told AFP.
Images of the raided presidential offices were widely shared on social media.
Video posts also showed hundreds of young people, some armed with sticks, marching and chanting on Tuesday against the arrival of Ramazani Shadary.
A number of people have been killed in pre-election violence since the beginning of campaigning on November 22.
Western governments are closely watching the election violence and vote outcome in the vast African state, which has never known a peaceful transfer of power since independence from colonial Belgium in 1960.
Martin Fayulu, leader of the Lamuka coalition in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, has called for a national debate between contestants in the December 23 elections.
His call comes four days to the end of campaigning, December 21, and under a week to the opening of voting centers. According to Fayulu, the occasion will help candidates share their ideas with voters.
He made the call via a Twitter post on Monday. “I propose a live broadcast debate on national television and Radio + private media between presidential candidates.
“This will be an opportunity to demonstrate that (for) on the ground ideas and their implementation, our coalition brings concrete proposals,” his tweet read.
Fayulu’s challenge comes at a time when candidates are busily campaigning across the country as they canvass votes to replace outgoing Joseph Kabila. The DRC is hoping for its first ever peaceful transition of power.
The Lamuka coalition comprises three aspirants and two banned hopefuls. The two are former vice president Jean Pierre Bemba and ex-governor of Katanga province, Moise Katumbi.
Other major candidates in the official pool of 21 include a former minister of interior Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, running on the ticket of the ruling coalition and Felix Tshisekedi, a son of a deceased veteran opposition leader, Etienne Tshisekedi.