DRC Opposition Chief Tshisekedi Returns As Crisis Looms

Congo’s veteran opposition chief Etienne Tshisekedi came home after a two-year convalescence Wednesday as the mineral-rich but unstable nation headed into fresh turbulence.

Large groups of supporters sporting Tshisekedi T-shirts and waving his flag headed for the airport from districts across the city of 11 million as the opposition accused the government of delaying his landing. The government denied the claims.

The 83-year-old, who was medevaced to former colonial power Belgium in 2014, landed at 14:00 (14:00 GMT) to a massive welcome.


An immensely popular figure, Tshisekedi emerged as a leading opposition voice as far back as the 1980s when he became a critic of former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

In Democratic Republic of Congo’s last presidential election in 2011, he ran second to Joseph Kabila but contended he was denied victory by massive fraud.

Tshisekedi “has come to take charge of operations, to enable the change of government that the Congolese people have waited for for decades,” Bruno Tshibala, secretary-general of Tshisekedi’s UPDS party, said as the plane arrived.


Written by Deborah O

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