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TSHISEKEDI IS COVERING UP OKENDE’S ASSASSINATION: Military Men Picked Up Killed Opposition Spokesperson

President Felix Tshisekedi is allegedly covering up Chérubin Okende’s assassination going by the details uncovered following the death of the Ensemble pour la Republique spokesperson.

According to an eye-witness, Okende was picked up by plain-clothed armed civilians who guided him to drive outside the Constitutional Court premises where they were joined by military personnel and drove away in a convoy.


“Traces of dried mud”

“A car cleaner who works in the parking lot of the Constitutional Court told us that on July 12, he saw armed men dressed in civilian clothes enter the parking lot and ask Chérubin Okende to follow them. Then, outside the dealership, he says he saw men in military uniforms in a white Toyota pick-up truck. According to this witness, one of these men took the wheel of the MP’s vehicle while the latter took a seat in the back, ” continues this relative, believing that the investigation is on the wrong track.

Reproaches also formulated by the party of Chérubin Okende, Together for the Republic, whose leader, Moïse Katumbi, hastily interrupted his stay in Côte d’Ivoire, denouncing a “political” affair . “There is a lot of manipulation,” said Olivier Kamitatu, his spokesperson. Traces of dried mud were found on Chérubin Okende’s pants. Where do they come from? We found his seat belt fastened. How is it possible ? His wife says he never tied her up. The position in which the body was discovered suggests that there was a scene. »

“All this is part of a logic of persecution of Moïse Katumbi and his collaborators”, continues Olivier Kamitatu , accusing the Congolese authorities of being behind this murder. In recent months, the difficulties have multiplied for those close to the presidential candidate. At the end of May, one of his closest advisers, Salomon Idi Kalonda, was arrested, accused of collusion with rebels. Just before, Mike Mukebayi, an elected member of the party, had also been charged.

It’s now a week after the death of Okende, but there is still neither motive nor culprit; but for the authorities, it is urgent to make progress in the investigation. Five months before the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the climate has become stifling since this figure in local political life was found, shot in the head, in his Lexus parked on the Congo-Japon boulevard in the Limete district, in Kinshasa, Thursday, July 13.

Chérubin Okende, spokesman for the party of Moïse Katumbi, the main rival of President Félix Tshisekedi in the race for the supreme magistracy in December, had disappeared several kilometers away the day before. He had been seen for the last time in the city center of the capital, in the parking lot of the Constitutional Court, where he was waiting for his bodyguard, who left to file a letter for him requesting the postponement of his hearing by twenty-four hours by the high court, which wanted to hear him on his declaration of assets.

Heinous crime or political assassination?

On Wednesday, Firmin Mvonde, the attorney general at the Court of Cassation, estimated that Chérubin Okende’s bodyguard was, at this stage of the investigation, “the first suspect”. His statements are not “constant” , specified the magistrate, adding that the bullet which “crossed the head” of the deputy is indeed part of his weapon, “found next to the body”. Arrested a few hours after the discovery of the body, this man who, according to our information, is a cousin by marriage of the victim, is questioned by the police, just like the driver of the deputy. “Other people”, whose identity has not been revealed, are being heard.

A version that does not convince the family of the former transport minister, who sees behind his death a “political assassination”. “No ballistic expertise has yet been made, nor has an autopsy been performed to determine the real causes of death, but the Attorney General is making sweeping statements. It’s not professional and it leads to believe that we want to make up the assassination , ”laments a relative on condition of anonymity.

These accusations are “indecent”, according to Patrick Muyaya, the government spokesman: “We were immediately accused. But who benefits from this crime? We are not making any profit from it, in a context where we are working to reassure the population about security, especially on the eve of the Games of La Francophonie [July 28 to August 6 in Kinshasa] and the December elections. While Moïse Katumbi asked the United Nations mission in the DRC to “conduct the investigations” , the government says it accepts that this investigation be international and promises that Belgium will send “as soon as possible”an expert. On Wednesday, prosecutor Firmin Mvonde added that South African and French investigators were also “expected”.

CREDIT: Additional Reporting by Le Monde



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