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New DRC opposition leader Félix Tshisekedi appeals for unity amidst criticism

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Fresh from being chosen to lead DR Congo’s opposition coalition in crucial negotiations with President Joseph Kabila’s government, Felix Tshisekedi has appealed for unity in the opposition.

The remarks follows discontent among sections of the opposition coalition who were not happy with the choice of the younger Tshisekedi as leader, with some openly criticising his lack of senior political experience.

“I do not think it is the presence or the absence of Pierre Lumbi in the National Council for the follow-up of the agreement, or my presence or absence at the level of the Presidency of the coalition that poses a problem,” said Tshisekedi, “What is essential are the objectives that have been set by the agreement. So that’s what we need to discuss and not about our ego problems.”

Tshisekedi’s appointment means that he is now more likely to be made prime minister in a power-sharing government.

His appointment also comes at a time when there are fears that the government may be trying to retreat from key aspects of the transition deal.

Under the agreement, President Kabila is barred from vying for elections that would be held by the end of 2017 while a prime minister will be named from the opposition.

“There is an agreement signed on December 31 that is still not implemented… so we will do everything possible to implement this agreement and its benefits… We want elections that are credible and which will offer the country an alternative,” the 53 year old opposition chief said.

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