Five days after the general elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an extensive military presence has been established in Lubumbashi, a stronghold of prominent challenger Moïse Katumbi, against incumbent President Félix Tshisekedi. This development is causing apprehension among the city’s residents, while local authorities assert that the military deployment aims to ensure security during the year-end period.
Since Sunday, dozens of Republican Guard soldiers have been visible in key locations across Lubumbashi, including the city center, the central square, the RTNC (national broadcaster), and the northern entrance. Heavily armed soldiers patrol certain avenues, leading to concerns expressed by Gislain Kalwa, president of the local civil society:
“The reinforced presence of the military creates panic and raises questions. What is happening? Why deploy so many soldiers? Fear is spreading, causing panic.”
On the other hand, Mayor Martin Kazembe seeks to reassure the population, stating that Lubumbashi residents have nothing to fear:
“These are our soldiers. They are here to ensure security. They are fulfilling their sovereign mission during these year-end festivities. The population of Lubumbashi should carry on with their activities peacefully.”
Some sources speculate that the heightened military presence aims to prevent any violent reactions from Moïse Katumbi’s supporters following the announcement of partial results in the presidential election.
While the military, in its Sunday statement, accused the Nyota television channel, affiliated with Katumbi, of disseminating information intended to demoralize and destabilize the military, the media outlet vehemently rejected these allegations.