African democracy loses Etienne Tshisekedi

The founder of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Étienne Tshisekedi Mulumba has died.

Mr Tshisekedi was the longest serving opposition leader for successive governments in the DRC and was seen as a major advocate for democracy.

He challenged Mobutu Sese-Seko, the dictator who was president from 1965 to 1997 in the 80’s when he instilled fear to rule the people.

He produced documents accusing Mobutu’s regime as one characterized by dictatorship and was jailed.

Cyril Musila, a Professor of political science at both the Catholic University of Paris and Sorbonne-Paris 1 and Universite Pedagogue Nationale, in DRC in an interview with, said “DRC has lost a great leader, a kind of leader we do not see these days.”

“People who believe in his democratic ideas, take risks in pushing these ideas which is usually centred on power to the people first,” he added.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission,(AUC) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has issued a statement of condolence to the people of DRC, to his family, his party UDPS, and to the people and Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Chairperson of the Commission, in his statement described Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba as a towering personality of Congolese politics,

She added,“The best way to honor his legacy and his long fight for democracy in the DRC is to fully implement the Conference Épiscopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) facilitated Agreement signed by the Congolese stakeholders on 31 December 2016.” 

He was reported to have died in Belguim, Wednesday evening at age 84.

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng

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