Congolese population mourns over the loss of ‘eternal’ opposition leader Tshisekedi

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Yesterday the face of Congolese opposition, Etienne Tshisekedi, died in Brussels at the age of 84. For decades, Tshisekedi fought and countered the differing authoritarian leaders, which can be found in the history of Congo.

By: DAAF BORREN

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Etienne Tshisekedi, London 2011

To start with, Tshisekedi led the opposition during the dictatorial reign of Mobutu Sese Seko, whom decided to change the name of the second largest country on the continent, in Zaïre. During these decades of oppression, he repeatedly held office as a minister, but was removed from that same office just as many times. The ruthless Mobutu did not tolerate any contradictions, which led to the imprisonment of Tshisekedi several times.

When Mobutu’s regime was overthrown in 1997, a new period of opposition emerged, wherein Tshisekedi opposed the dictatorships of ‘the Kabila’s.’ When his father, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, was shot by a child soldier of his personal guard, his son, Joseph Kabila took over. Despite many protests and violation of the Congolese constitution, little Kabila still holds office until today. During the 2011 elections, Tshisekedi was a presidential candidate, which he lost obviously. As you might have guessed, after the elections, international observers spoke of absurd fraud and corruption, declaring the elections as invalid. Joseph Kabila disagreed and firmly settled himself on the Congolese throne.

Etienne Tshisekedi was a brave leader of opposition, who dared to counter the rule of the established authoritarian order, in dangerous and turbulent times. His death is a major setback for the population, especially since Kabila refuses to leave office while his mandate is over according to the Congolese constitution. A well-known everyday Congolese hero, shared the following on social media, to show his condolences:

Dr. Denis Mukwege: “Saddened by the death of opposition leader Etienne #Tshisekedi in #Brussels. Great loss for the nation. #DRCongo #RIPTshisekedi

[DUTCH]

Congolezen rouwen om verlies ‘eeuwige’ oppositieleider Tshisekedi

Gisteren is in Brussel op 84-jarige leeftijd het gezicht van de Congolese oppositie overleden. Etienne Tshisekedi heeft het decennialang opgenomen tegen de verschillende autoritaire leiders die Congo’s geschiedenis rijk is.

Zo was hij oppositieleider gedurende het dictatoriale regime van Mobutu, toen de Democratische Republiek Congo tijdelijk Zaïre heette. In deze periode heeft hij meermaals het ambt van minister bekleed. Maar door de constante onenigheid met de nietsontziende Mobutu duurden deze periodes nooit lang en belandde hij regelmatig in de cel.

Toen Mobutu’s regime in 1997 ten val werd gebracht, brak een nieuwe periode van oppositie aan waarin Tshisekedi het opnam tegen de Kabila’s. Na de moord op zijn vader, nam Joseph Kabila het stokje over. De populaire oppositieleider nam het in de presidentsverkiezingen van 2011 tegen hem op maar verloor. Later zeiden internationale waarnemers dat de verkiezingen door fraude en corruptie oneerlijk waren verlopen.

Een moedige oppositieleider, die in een roerige en gevaarlijke tijd tegen de gevestigde orde in durfde te gaan, is heengegaan. De Congolese bevolking rouwt. Ook een andere Congolese held betreurde het grote verlies van Etienne Tshisekedi.

Dr. Denis Mukwege: “Saddened by the death of opposition leader Etienne #Tshisekedi in #Brussels. Great loss for the nation. #DRCongo #RIPTshisekedi

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