Félix Tshisekedi was born Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo on June 13, 1963. He is a Congolese politician who has been the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since 24 January 2019.
In fact, as in the months prior to the vote, opposition parties in DR Congo, including the UDPS had said that they would pick a joint candidate. Especially, for the presidential election to increase their chances of defeating the governing party.
But, as can be seen, Tshisekedi was the UDPS party’s candidate for president in the December 2018 general election, which he won.
Despite accusations that surround him on the irregularities from European Nations and the CCEMO. Recently, he has named his coalition partner and political heavyweight, Vital Kamerhe, as his chief of staff.
Where was Félix Tshisekedi born?
Also, important to realize, Felix Tshisekedi is one of five children of the late politician from the Democratic Republic of Congo. So to say, Félix Antoine is, therefore, the son of late Étienne Tshisekedi, a three-time Prime Minister of Zaire and opposition leader in the 1990s.
Surprisingly, Antoine’s father is of Luba ethnicity. Not forgetting, his father founded the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) on February 15, 1982. Félix had a comfortable life as a youth in the capital city of the DRC.
However, when his father created the UDPS in the early 1980s, publicly opposing Mobutu, Félix was forced to accompany his dissident father. Especially into house arrest in his native village in central Kasaï which led to him ending his studies.
Why did Félix Tshisekedi win elections?
For your information, before taking over leadership, he lived in Brussels (Belgium). Not forgetting, he is the current leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS).
And in fact, it’s one of the oldest and largest opposition party of the Democratic Republic of Congo. And more notably, after the opposition parties made the decision to pick Martin Fayulu as the unity candidate, Mr. Tshisekedi backed out
He decided to run independently. And in that case, to take on Kabila’s handpicked successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. Although Mr. Tshisekedi argued he was simply following the wishes of the party base.
Many political followers in Congo and beyond criticized his decision not to support Mr. Fayulu. This factor contributed to Félix owing to run as an independent candidate where he won the elections.
In matters of politics, for instance, Félix’s victory was upheld by the Constitutional Court of the DRC. This is after another opposition politician, Martin Fayulu, challenged the 2019 elections result.
“Like Father Like Son”
A 55-year-old father of five, Mr. Tshisekedi, was for a long time known for being the son of the late veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. But, he insisted that he was not trying to rival his father. But Mr. Tshisekedi did not simply cash in on his name.
He Félix Antoine has been immersed in politics from a very young age and had to work his way through the party. He also had to suffer the consequences of his father’s political activism.
When the UDPS was created, the Tshisekedi family was forced into internal exile to their home town in the central Kasai province. In 1985, Mobutu authorized him, his mother, and his brothers to leave Kasaï.
Whereas he went on to live in Brussels, Belgium. Where he worked at odd jobs and became an active UDPS militant. They stayed there until 1985 when President Mobutu allowed the mother and children to leave.
Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) Party
Félix Tshisekedi’s father founded the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (known by its French initials UDPS) in 1982. And was a feared rival of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, who died months after being ousted in 1997, and later of Presidents Laurent and Joseph Kabila.
Under his leadership, the UDPS became the country’s largest opposition party, but he never succeeded in winning the office. His legal challenge to the official results of the 2011 presidential election, which showed he won 32% of the vote to Joseph Kabila’s 49%, failed.
The veteran opposition leader died in 2017 leaving a big question over who would succeed him. The electoral commission said Mr. Tshisekedi had received 38.5% of the vote on 30 December.
Compared to 34.7% for Martin Fayulu, another opposition figure. While the ruling coalition candidate Emmanuel Shadary took 23.8%.
How did Félix Tshisekedi become President?
Etienne’s’ former chief of staff Albert Moleka shared through the BBC that; Félix Tshisekedi was not necessarily the obvious choice.
“Etienne Tshisekedi was very vocal about his skepticism towards his son’s abilities. He was very demanding of his son. Etienne always fought for the people and wasn’t in a position of offering a free pass to his son.
Mr. Moleka added that his mother though, Marthe Kasalu, facilitated a push for the son to become the leader. His strength fluctuated as soon as Félix Tshisekedi went to the Belgian capital, Brussels.
After completing his studies there he took up politics, working his way through his father’s party. Particularly to become the National Secretary for external affairs for the UDPS, based in Brussels.
He made powerful friends and allies in the diaspora even though lightly taken. And so it wasn’t easy for him to win election alongside his run-mates.
Did Félix Tshisekedi bring Peace in Congo?
His swearing-in saw the first peaceful transition of power in DR Congo since their independence in 1960.
Equally important, Félix has always shown a lot of willingness. So to say, he is so courageous and focused on his ultimate political mandates. Even though he has a long path to walk in figuring out what his long-term goals are.
Tshisekedi told the crowds at his inauguration that he wanted to “build a strong Congo, turned towards development in peace and security.
A Congo for all in which everyone has a place”. Mr. Tshisekedi also said he will make the fight against poverty a “great national cause“. Below is a breakdown of his Political Career;
2008 – UDPS Secretarial
In 2008, Félix Antoine Tshilombo became the UDPS National Secretary on external relations matters. Whereas, in November 2011, he obtained a seat in the National Assembly, representing the city of Mbuji Mayi.
So, to enumerate, Mbuji Mayi City is located in the ambient Province of Kasai-Oriental. Even though he did not take his seat by citing a fraudulent election process.
2013 – CENI Rapporteur Position
As of course, CENI’s article 17 excludes membership for those who are members of a political formation.
2016- UDPS Vice Secretary-General
In October 2016, Tshisekedi became vice secretary-general of the UDPS.On 31 March 2018, he was elected to lead the UDPS, after his father’s death on 1 February 2017.
2019 – DRC President Declaration
On 10 January 2019, it was announced Tshisekedi had been elected President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the elections held on 30 December 2018. He defeated another opposition leader, Martin Fayulu, and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.
In addition, he received massive support from the term-limited outgoing president Joseph Kabila. Joseph Kabila has been the president for eighteen years. Fayulu, the runner-up, alleged rigging and challenged the election results.
19th January – Official Presidential-Elect
On 19 January, the challenge was dismissed by the Constitutional Court, officially making Tshisekedi president-elect.
South Africa on 20 January congratulated Felix Tshisekedi on becoming president of DR Congo. Despite the African Union and EUROPA warning of doubts over the result announced by the Constitutional Court.
Finally, I hope you have gathered enough information in regards to the newly elected President of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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