Following pressure from the supporters of the biggest opposition party in the Democratic Republic of Congo, its presidential flag bearer Felix Tshisekedi, has withdrawn from the coalition that named a joint candidate over the weekend.
Tshisekedi, the president of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) had been one of seven signatories of the new coalition called Lamuka.
Lamuka on Sunday announced little known, Martin Fayulu as their candidate for the December 23 elections.
Fayulu rejected by opposition supporters
On Monday, angry opposition supporters gathered outside the UDPS offices in DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, protesting the choice of Fayulu as the joint candidate.
The choice of 61-year-old Fayulu had come a surprise as UDPS’ Felix Tshisekedi, had widely been seen as the front-runner.
Jean-Marc Kabund, the secretary general of the UDPS then announced that “the grassroots want (party leader) Felix Tshisekedi to withdraw” from the deal, and set a 48-hour deadline for him to do so.
Tshisekedi, Kamerhe ‘listen to supporters’
Hardly twelve hours later, Tshisekedi and another opposition candidate, Vital Kamerhe said they were pulling out of the coalition for a united candidate, because their supporter bases had opposed the plan.
There had also been protests outside the offices of the UNC, the party headed by Kamerhe, a former National Assembly speaker.
This latest development dashes hopes of a united opposition front against the ruling coalition, whose leader Joseph Kabila endorsed former interior minister, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary to replace him.
The ruling PPRD party had earlier said they were not worried by the choice of Fayulu as the united opposition candidate.
“I wonder if they will have time to prepare to face our candidate who has a team which has been working for many months,” remarked Tunda ya Kasende, the PPRD’s deputy secretary general.
Is Martin Fayulu the best choice for DRC's opposition? [The Morning Call] https://t.co/eKSeKwaJpB
— africanews (@africanews) 12 novembre 2018