Dr. Denis Mukwege, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has officially declared his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). During a press conference held in Kinshasa on October 2, 2023, Dr. Mukwege announced his intention to run in the December 20 election, just before the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) for candidate submissions.
Dr. Mukwege’s candidacy had been under consideration for several months, with his name frequently mentioned as a potential candidate. In recent weeks, it seemed increasingly likely.
“I won’t wait until 2028,” Dr. Denis declared. “I am not doing this out of self-interest or for power but to save my country. Tomorrow will be too late; I’m going now. One must have the courage to renounce personal comfort out of patriotism!”
Denis’s program will revolve around 12 pillars, with the main focuses being peace, security, and defense—combating the country’s balkanization—and justice and the rule of law. This program aligns with Dr. Mukwege’s long-standing advocacy and positions, as he has been calling for an end to impunity for years.
Mukwege began his speech with a minute of silence for all victims of conflicts in the Congo. “I am an outraged and revolted citizen,” he declared.
He is expected to submit his candidacy soon. According to one of his close associates, he must leave the capital for an urgent matter on October 4. Then, the presidential campaign will commence, and he warns, “Let’s not be naive; fraud is already organized.”
Approximately twenty candidates have declared their intentions for the presidential election. So far, based on candidates’ announcements and information from CENI, seven have officially submitted their candidacies. However, this week will see a procession of candidates at the Commission’s office.
Among the anticipated candidates are Moïse Katumbi, with his team suggesting October 3 as the submission date, and Martin Fayulu, who initially boycotted the election but will now participate. Additionally, a candidate will be chosen after primary elections held by a portion of civil society.
Finally, the incumbent president, Félix Tshisekedi, is expected to declare his candidacy. Currently, he is in Katanga, an opposition stronghold, and arrived in Lubumbashi on October 1.