Doctor and Nobel laureate Denis Mukwege runs for president of DRC
Nobel laureate Dr Denis Mukwege announced his candidacy for the Congolese presidential election in December at a press conference broadcast live on his Facebook page on Monday.
"The time is now," he said from Kinshasa. "My only motivation is to save our homeland, to put our country back on its feet and to restore the dignity of our people. For about a decade, the Congolese people, through numerous associations and personalities, have been urging me to be their presidential candidate. For a long time, I did not respond because it is not in my nature to take on such a responsibility indiscriminately."
He doutline his views on the country and its politics, speaking of an "existential crisis" and a state "that is the laughing stock of our continent, despite its immense potential for development".
"My only motivation is to save our homeland, to put our country back on its feet and to restore the dignity of our people"
"I have been caring for the sick and living with the most disadvantaged members of our society for 40 years," he added. "There are too many women, men and children living in great misery because our country is doing poorly. So far, despite all the promises, nothing has been done to stop the bleeding."
He called on the Congolese people to take the country's destiny into their own hands and urged them to peacefully mobilise and "vote for change".
Mukwege, a gynaecologist known for his work with Congolese women victims of sexual violence in the east of the country, had said he was preparing an "important speech". Known as "the man who mends women", Mukwege won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for his work against sexual violence and has been an outspoken critic of president Félix Tshisekedi's regime for years. However, he refused to run in the 2018 presidential elections.
Candidates have until 8 October to submit their candidature to the Independent Electoral Commission. Voting takes place on 20 December. Tshisekedi is running for a second term in the election, which will take place in conjunction with parliamentary, provincial and local elections.
© PHOTO TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP