Sources in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have informed AfroAmerica Network that Veteran Congolese opposition politician Etienne Thisekedi is very ill.
According to the sources, Mr Etienne Tshisekedi has been bedridden since the publication of the controversial results of the November 28, 2011 elections, in which, according to the Congolese electoral commission, CENI, he lost to the incumbent Joseph Kabila.
After the publications of the results on December 9, 2011, he rejected the results and declared himself the winner and the de facto sole President of the DRC. He has never been seen in public since.
His closest aides, especially his UDPS party’s Secretary General Jacquemin Shabani has been saying that he has been under house arrest within his main residence cordoned off by Joseph Kabila’s presidential guard wearing police uniforms. The house arrest story was rejected by the Congolese government and some people close to Etienne Tshisekedi.
Meanwhile, other people closest to Etienne Tshisekedi have told AfroAmerica Network that after an interview he gave to Radio Okapi on Friday December 9, 2011, he fell very ill. His son Felix had to rush in a medical doctor, who recommended absolute rest.
The sources add that with his health had been up and down since, Etienne Thsisekedi may not have enough energy to appear and stay in public for an extended period. Other sources affirmed that he actually is gravely ill and unable to leave the bed. Hence, the cancellation of a massive rally that was scheduled on Tuesday December 13, 2011. Instead, his son Felix went alng with Vital Kamerhe to file a complaint with the Supreme Court, fueling the speculation that UDPS, realizing that they may be loosing Etienne Tshisekedi is seeking other venues to contest the elections, instead of the previous hard line.
Whether Etienne Tshisekedi is gravely ill will be found out in coming days, critical to the opposition contesting Joseph Kabila’s reelection. What is almost certainly sure is that, if Etienne Tshisekedi is very ill, the opposition’s momentum to overturn the results of the elections will be lost. What is puzzling is that Etienne Tshisekedi a sickly octogenarian had been fighting hard to avoid the alliance of other opposition leaders. In fact, the disappearance of Etienne Tshisekedi will leave four main opposition candidates: Vital Kamerhe and Mbusa Nyamwisi in the East, Kengo Wa Ndondo and Nzanga Mobutu in the West. The two groups may no longer need the hardly elusive alliance with the weakened Thisekedi’s UDPS and may instead seek to reaffirm themselves or form an alliance, perhaps with Kengo Wa Ndondo or Vital Kamerhe at the helm.
However, with or without the alliance of the four, given that no one would claim the victory against Joseph Kabila, the the risks for a civil war may be increased even further. After all, this is the Congo-Zaire!
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