After a successful political tour in Katanga province, Etienne Tshisekedi returned to Kinshasa on Tuesday, drawing huge crowds along his route from Ndjili airport to Stade des Martyrs, where he held a rally.
The president of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress staged an impressive show of force in the capital, just as he did during his visit in Katanga province – considered one of President Joseph Kabila’s strongholds in the east.
The show of popularity is certain to bolster Mr. Tshisekedi’s claim that he is the best candidate from the opposition to challenge President Kabila in the one-round presidential election scheduled for November 28.
Activities were at a standstill in many areas of Kinshasa because of the huge number of people who came out to support the leader of the UDPS.
To the credit of the supporters, the organizers, the authorities, and the Congolese national police – who escorted Mr. Tshisekedi from the airport to the stadium – no incidents were reported.
Because of the huge crowds amassed along his route, it took more than eight hours to the convoy to arrive at Stade des Martyrs. More than eighty thousand people were waiting to hear him speak.
Addressing his supporters, Mr. Tshisekedi said that he is open to the idea of the major opposition parties choosing one candidate to challenge President Kabila in November.
“We have to join around a platform to exchange our views and work together to find a common agenda. To do this, our discussions should not revolve around individuals but around a common program on how we will govern,” he said.
Mr. Tshisekedi said that opposition parties will keep challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission as long as they find irregularities in the organization of the upcoming elections.
He called on the INEC to publish the list of registered voters, as required by the Constitution. He said that the electoral roll for Maniema and Bas-Congo provinces should have been published by now because registration in those provinces was completed well ahead of other provinces.
“When we take power after the 2011 elections, the government will no longer be making decisions alone. We will work with the people,” he said.