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IN DEFENCE OF KATUMBI’S CANDIDATURE: DRC Electoral Commission Tells Constitutional Court Opposition Leader Meets All Legal Requirements To Contest Polls

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) has submitted before the Constitutional Court that Ensemble pour la République president Moïse Katumbi has met all legal requirements per the country’s constitution, including the question on his nationality, to run for elections on December 20, 2023.

Katumbi is the strongest challenger for incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi who has deployed all efforts to eliminate the former Katanga Governor from the race.

A surrogate of Tshisekedi, Noel Tshiani, on October 23, 2023 (a time outside the mandated 48 hours for such requests) filed a petition in the Constitutional Court seeking to invalidate Katumbi’s candidature on account of a retracted article published by Jeune Afrique over five years ago.

When the full bench of the Constitutional Court met on Friday, October 27, 2023, CENI filed its submission defending its decision on Katumbi as a candidate as legal per the provisions of the Congolese Constitution.

CENI states that it made its decision to include Katumbi as one of the 24 presidential candidates on the strength of article 104 of the Congolese Constitution – the supreme law of the land.

CENI states that Article 104 paragraph 2 of Congo’s Constitution provides that the declaration of candidacy is accompanied by the following;

1. A certificate of nationality
2. A valid criminal record extract;
3. A photocopy of the voter’s card;
4. A receipt for payment of the non-refundable application deposit fee of 160,000,000 Congolese francs paid into the public treasury account;
5. The original of the candidate’s letter of nomination by his political party or political grouping, except for the independent candidate;
6. A certified photocopy of the higher education or university diploma, or the certificate in lieu thereof, or the certificate justifying experience professional of at least five years in the political, administrative or socio-field – economic.

“In this case, Mr. Moïse Katumbi Chapwe actually added to his declaration of candidacy the certificate of nationality number 0127381 issued to him on 04/20/2015 by the Ministry of Justice and Keeper of the Seals.

“It is for this reason that the CENI declared his application admissible,” the submission states.

CENI explains that it was the most competent body by operation of the law to ascertain those eligible to contest the elections in the DRC.

The Constitutional Court will reconvene on Monday, October 30, 2023 to finalize the matter as the campaign period is a fortnight away.

SEE IMAGE FILES OF THE CORRESPONDENCE SUBMITTED BY CENI TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

 

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