Opposition leader Moise Katumbi officially kicked off his presidential campaign in Kisangani on Monday, a month before the Democratic Republic of Congo’s upcoming election. The 58-year-old wealthy businessman has pledged to combat corruption, generate employment, and revamp the country’s struggling economy.

Katumbi has been critical of the incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi’s handling of issues in the volatile east of the DRC, particularly the military’s clashes with M23 rebels and other armed groups. He accused the president of enlisting foreign mercenaries instead of improving the wages of the military and police.

During the rally, Katumbi asserted, “The current government has made many promises. I assure you that these tales will not be repeated. We are committed to enhancing the conditions of our soldiers who defend our nation, and we will expel all foreign forces present in our country.”

Young attendees at the Kisangani rally expressed their anticipation for change, five years after Tshisekedi assumed power in the disputed 2018 election, from which Katumbi was barred.

“They promised us security, but nothing happened. They promised employment, but nothing materialized. They promised road construction, but they have not done anything positive,” remarked Abdullah Simba.

Katumbi’s campaign launch followed the commencement of campaigns by his two main rivals, Tshisekedi and opposition figure Martin Fayulu, a day earlier in preparation for the December 20th vote.

In 2018, Katumbi’s presidential ambitions were thwarted by President Joseph Kabila’s government, which canceled his Congolese passport while he was abroad. Despite eligibility concerns raised by critics this time, alleging that his father was not a Congolese citizen, a top court recently dismissed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Katumbi from running.

Several opposition candidates have withdrawn from the race, throwing their support behind Katumbi.

Quest: Ezimekume Dominion.

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