Opposition Figure Cherubin Okende’s Funeral Scheduled for March 19th and 20th

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The funeral arrangements for Congolese opposition figure Cherubin Okende, whose body was discovered on July 14, 2023, in Kinshasa, and whose death was controversially ruled a suicide by the authorities despite vehement objections from his family and the opposition, are set to take place on Tuesday, March 19th, and Wednesday, March 20th, 2024. The ceremonies will proceed without any official tributes.

At the time of his death, Cherubin Okende was still serving as a member of parliament and had resigned from his position as Minister of Transport a few weeks prior.

No government officials have been invited to Cherubin Okende’s funeral. Those members of the authorities who choose to attend will do so in a personal capacity, as explained by the deceased’s family. A mass at “the Notre Dame du Congo” Cathedral will precede the burial scheduled for Wednesday, March 20th.

Regarding legal matters, the lawyers representing the Okende family have confirmed receipt of the investigative documents provided by the prosecutor’s office. According to a member of the defense team, certain crucial documents are missing from the file, such as the interpretation of the autopsy report by the South African expert, and the complete ballistics report. It is known that no additional autopsies were conducted apart from the one overseen by the Congolese authorities.

Furthermore, advanced discussions have been initiated with an international law firm for a comprehensive review of the dossier provided by the prosecutor’s office to the family. According to Laurent Onyemba, the lead attorney representing the family, the objective is to pursue legal action in Kinshasa or abroad. In the interim, the suicide theory put forward by the Congolese authorities continues to be vigorously contested. A member of the defense team asserts that it borders on contempt for the deceased.

Cherubin Okende’s death remains a sensitive issue. The Attorney General has prohibited any criticism of its conclusion, with potential offenders facing arrest for spreading false information.


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