Who is Felix Tshisekedi?

The provisional winner of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s December 30 election, Felix Tshisekedi, is the son of the country’s long-time opposition leader, Etienne.

The 55-year-old has led his father’s party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), since March last year following Etienne’s death in February.

Etienne was the main opposition leader during Mobutu Sese Seko’s dictatorship (1965 to 1997), Laurent-Desire Kabila’s presidency (1997-2001) and Laurent’s son Joseph’s government (2001 to 2017).

Etienne was viewed as “stubborn and proud”, AFP reports, and a “man of the country”, according to the Guardian.

The former chief of staff for Etienne, Albert Moleka, told the BBC in December that Felix was not his father’s first choice for the party’s leadership: “Etienne Tshisekedi was very vocal about his scepticism towards his son’s abilities. … He was someone who fought for the people and so he wasn’t going to give his son a free pass.”

Felix has been criticised for his lack of charisma and political experience, drawing his political legitimacy from his father, Mail & Guardian Africa editor Simon Allison wrote in his article Hunting for ghosts in Kinshasa.

Leaving the DRC for Belgium in 1985, Felix earned his diploma in marketing and communication and moved into politics. While in Belgium, he would work his way up to serve in the position of national secretary for external relations in 2008.

Prior to his election win, Felix reportedly told supporters that he doesn’t have any ambition to rival his father, saying “He is my master, and you don’t rival the master.”

Felix has promised the return of the rule of law to the DRC, to bring about peace and to fight the “gangrene” of corruption. He has also said that his main priority will be the fight against poverty, the BBC reported.

Following the announcement of his victory, he was reported by Al Jazeera to have said he is “willing to be a president for all the people of Congo”.

Election legitimacy

Felix won 7 million votes, 38.6% of the national electorate, coming ahead of favoured opposition candidate former ExxonMobil manager Martin Fayulu with 6.4 million votes. While Joseph Kabila’s hand-picked successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, garnered 4.4 million votes. Over 18-million ballots were cast during the December 30 election.

Polls showed that Fayulu was the favourite, the Washington Post reported, suggesting that Fayulu may challenge Felix’s win in court. On Thursday morning, Fayulu said the election results were “a true electoral coup”.

Several weeks before the election Kabila’s party tried to orchestrate a power-sharing deal to keep Shadary in the race, Al Jazeera reported. According to the publication, Felix’s camp has admitted to contacting Kabila’s party but says no deals have been made.

Following the election results on Thursday morning, Felix recognised Kabila as an “important political partner”.  

Advertisting

Aggett tormentor had a ‘morbid’ obsession — Barbara Hogan

The former minister told the inquest into the trade unionist Neil Aggett’s death that security branch interrogator Stephan Whitehead was voyeuristic

ANC and the state step back from taking action against...

Despite alleged abuses of power and people’s trust, the ANC appears to have abandoned plans to reform the controversial Ingonyama Trust Board
Advertising

Press Releases

UKZN scientists make the grade

Dr Veron Ramsuran and Dr Lenine Liebenberg have been named in the African Academy of Science's top 40 list.

Wellcome Trust award goes to UKZN mental health champion

Dr Andr? J van Rensburg, a senior researcher in UKZN's Centre for Rural Health, received the Wellcome Trust Discretionary Award.

MTN gears up to deliver improved customer service

On 28 January, the first batch of MTN contract customers will be migrated onto the new customer service platform.

Request for expression of interest on analysis of quality and outcome indicators for regional and district hospitals in Lesotho

Introduction The Ministry of Health of Lesotho with the support of the World Bank funded Nutrition and Health Systems Strengthening...

MiX Telematics enhances in-vehicle video camera solution

The company has launched the gold MiX Vision Bureau Service, which includes driver-coaching tools to ensure risky driver behaviour can be addressed proactively and efficiently.

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity