Body of Etienne Tshisekedi returns to Congo two years after death
SEE ALSO :Kalonzo off to Tshisekedi burialNews of Tshisekedi’s death alone spurred violent clashes in Kinshasa between supporters and police. But Felix Tshisekedi’s unexpected rise to the presidency has lessened the controversy of his father’s return. Opposition critics say Felix’s victory in the December poll was part of a deal with Kabila under which Kabila would relinquish power but retain control over key functions of government, a claim both leaders deny. “Etienne Tshisekedi represents Congo’s political struggle,” said opposition politician François Mwamba on his return. Another support said, “Our President is our hero.” Etienne Tshisekedi was a pivotal figure in Congo, whose history has been marked by civil war and coups. His activism and bravery in the face of leaders like Mobutu Sese Seko won him widespread support, and he drew huge crowds. He served as a minister under Mobutu before founding the UDPS, the first organized opposition platform in what was then Zaire, in 1982. Tshisekedi was named prime minister four times in the 1990s, but never lasted more than a few months as he and Mobutu repeatedly clashed. Before his death, Tshisekedi had become a lightning rod for opposition to Kabila’s refusal to step down, despite his mandate running out in 2016, but he failed to mobilize thousands onto the streets to oust Kabila.
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