The rumor had been circulating in DR Congo (DRC) for months, months since the renowned Congolese gynecologist-obstetrician let it be heard, months since we saw those around him put themselves in battle order in the event of his candidacy. It is now official, Denis Mukwege, 68 years old, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2018, is in turn competing in the presidential election which is to be held on December 20.
“I agree to be your candidate for President of the Republic”, he said on Monday October 2 in Kinshasa in front of a large poster presenting him as “The People’s Choice”. It’s because “the country is doing very badly”that he is hit by a « crisis » on the security, political and human rights levels, that he has decided to take his responsibilities. “Tomorrow will be late. I am going now ! “, he justified himself.
A critical voice
Trained in gynecology at the Angers medical faculty by Professor Bernard Crézé, Denis Mukwege is known worldwide for treating women victims of rape in eastern DR Congo.
In his Panzi hospital, he has developed a global approach to the care of victims which is based on four pillars: medical treatment, psychological care, economic reintegration and legal assistance. His commitment to these women led him to denounce the impunity that reigns in eastern DRC.
Over the years, Denis Mukwege has become one of the most critical voices in the Congolese political world, deeming him responsible for this culture of impunity which seriously poisons this country of around 99 million inhabitants (according to an estimate of the World Bank of 2022).
Hostility against Rwanda and Uganda
In his public speeches, he does not hesitate to mention a “genocide” of which the population of Kivu would have been victims. In question, Rwanda and Uganda, responsible according to him for the destabilization of the region since the mid-1990s. These two countries are creating disorder to illegally exploit the raw materials whose global market, in particular that of tech and electric cars, needs.
In a billet dated August 2 where he once again mentions the “Congolese genocide”he writes again that « Rwanda and Uganda are required to be held accountable for their repeated aggressions and their leading roles in the looting and commission of the most serious crimes in the DRC”adding that the “Congolese women and men also have the right to their Nuremberg (…) with a view to stopping the spiral of violence and impunity.
Something we know less about is his vocation as a Pentecostal pastor. Himself the son of an evangelical pastor, Doctor Mukwege preaches Christianity on Sundays. “This dimension is essential in my life. If in the east of the DRC, I am confronted with the mystery of evil, this does not affect my faith in God,” he confided to The cross, few years ago. It was also with the support of the Community of Pentecostal Churches in Central Africa (Cepac) that he built his Panzi hospital in Bukavu.
From the presidential camp, his candidacy is not seen as a threat. “Denis Mukwege is better known internationally than in our country,” says an advisor to President Félix Tshisekedi. “He has no solid political party, no structure that covers the entire territory. » In addition to the outgoing president, he will also have to face at the polls heavyweights of the Congolese political scene like Martin Fayulu, the unsuccessful candidate in the December 2018 election. And the former governor of Katanga (South-East) and rich man businessman Moïse Katumbi.
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