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Tshisekedi Denies Telling Supporters to Use Violence

Congo News Agency - November 19, 2011
Etienne Tshisekedi campaigns in Bukavu, South Kivu
Etienne Tshisekedi in Bukavu, South Kivu (Photo: Nicolas Pinault/VOA) | Enlarge
During an interview with the French service of the Voice of America on Thursday, Etienne Tshisekedi denied telling his supporters to use violence last week. The presidential candidate repeated his claim that he is the current president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr. Tshisekedi told VOA reporter Nicolas Pinault in Bukavu, South Kivu Province, that he “did not call, as it’s been said, for violence.” Rather, he said, the statements were meant to urge the Congolese people to “mobilize” and “take their responsibility.”

“I did not ask the people to take up arms… Our people have the right to use the only power they have, mobilization.”

Mr. Tshisekedi said that the authorities have “killed, tortured, and arrested. In one month, they have killed seven of our fighters protesting peacefully on the June 30th Boulevard … Now, look. That, the international community, no one, has said anything about it.”

“I did, of course, use the words ‘break things’. But what does it mean when someone says ‘break a jail’, compared to the people who have been killed in mass in the country?”

Mr. Tshisekedi said that he has no regrets over the way his statements have been “interpreted.” “I am ready to repeat them, if they do it again.” “I don’t regret anything, but I’m amused when the international community says nothing about our dead and then says that I am inciting to violence.”

Mr. Tshisekedi said that the presidential election must take place as scheduled on November 28 because President Kabila’s term ends on December 6. “The date must be respected. Otherwise, the people could rise up.” Ready or not, “the Independent National Electoral Commission has no choice.”

Mr. Tshisekedi said that, although he is not “pleased” with the way the elections are being organized, he will abide by the will of the people if he does win the presidential election and “it is proven that they have not been rigged.”

His priority, if elected, will be security. “We will start with building a truly national army. Since independence, we have only had militias.”

Mr. Tshisekedi said that, after being elected and putting in place democratic institutions, he will “hold a big ceremony” to thank the United Nations mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) “for their service.” “I think that there are many other countries where they are enormously needed and where they can go and be of service.”

Asked who is the current president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr. Tshisekedi replied “It’s me. It’s me. I have been named president of the Democratic Republic of Congo by our people. It’s me."

Mr. Tshisekedi called President Kabila the “biggest thief in the world” who “has stolen in 10 years more than Mobutu did in 30 years.”

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