The presidential campaign scheduled for December 20 continues amid tension. Authorities have denied opposition candidate Martin Fayulu the opportunity to hold his closing campaign rally at the Martyrs Stadium, the country’s largest. The presidential hopeful intended to showcase his strength, but the Ministry of Sports rejected the request, and Fayulu believes the reasons given are spurious.
To reject the stadium rental request, Sports Minister Kabulo Mwana Kabulo cites “inspection work” underway at the 80,000-seat stadium for the organization of the 2027 African Games.
“We face many constraints with the Martyrs Stadium,” he asserts. “We have issues with spotting, faucets, completely clogged toilets, and turf protection. If the stadium is available, all Congolese have the right to it. There’s no need to create unnecessary controversy. There are plenty of available spaces in Kinshasa; a leader keen on holding a meeting cannot miss a place. I’ve given the same response to others who sought the stadium for their meetings, like the Governor of Kinshasa, major sports clubs, and others.”
The stadium will only be available in early January, according to the minister. Martin Fayulu’s camp responds, stating, “The fallacious and bogus political reasons advanced do not hold water,” says Prince Epenge, his spokesperson. “Mr. Félix Tshilombo held his meeting at the Martyrs Stadium just 12 days ago.
These fallacious reasons were not mentioned. It’s a double standard. In reality, they are afraid that Martin Fayulu will display his popularity. These are political maneuvers aimed at preventing certain candidates, primarily Martin Fayulu, from holding meetings, meeting the Congolese.”
Following a crisis meeting on Tuesday, Martin Fayulu and his teams decided to relocate the rally. It will now take place at Sainte-Thérèse Square, in the heart of the populous N’djili commune. This relocation underscores the tensions characterizing this campaign. Fayulu had previously accused the government of preventing him from campaigning by requisitioning all kerosene stocks at airports, an accusation rejected by the authorities.