Powerful opposition figure Moise Katumbi has accepted the nomination of the three opposition parties including the G7, the Collectif des Nationalistes, and the Alternance pour la République 2016 to be their candidate for President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Katumbi (full name Moise Katumbi Chapwe) in March urged incumbent President Joseph Kabila to step down from power once his second full term in office comes to an end in December. Under the DRC's constitution, elections are to be held in November and Kabila cannot run – or continue to serve – because of term limits.
Katumbi: 'A sense of deep responsibility'
The G7 endorsed Katumbi for president on 31 March. In Lubumbashi on Wednesday (4 May) Katumbi said that he was honoured to have been chosen by the the G7, the Collectif des Nationalistes and the Alternance pour la République 2016 to be their candidate.
"I sincerely thank these political movements, as well as all civil society, for the trust they have placed in me. I accept their nomination with humility and a sense of deep responsibility," Katumbi said.
Katumbi resigned as governor of the mineral-rich Katanga province in September 2015. Katumbi said that since then, the coalition has worked to develop a common society project, with all political and social forces that are committed towards change.
"In order to finalise this project, I will begin, in the coming days, a national tour throughout the Congo territory," he said.
'Committed to establish a genuine rule of law'
Explaining members of the opposition had recently been "victims of judicial and police harassment, as well as unfair criticism on the radio and state television", the former governor declared he was committed to establish with all political and social forces of progress, "a genuine rule of law in the DRC".
"I will lead this project in a spirit of national harmony," he said. "I invite my fellow countrymen, enamoured with peace, freedom and progress, to join our peaceful battle for a guaranteed victory. People of Congo, set up our fronts, that have been curved for too long, to build a country more beautiful than ever before."
A businessman and owner of the highly successful football club and current African champions, TP Mazembe, Katumbi is a politician with unrivalled popularity in the DRC.
Katumbi resigned from the ruling People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) in September after accusing Kabila of attempting to subvert the constitution to stay in power. His endorsement was announced following a G7 convention in the capital, Kinshasa.