Le president de l’Union pour la Democratie et le Progrès Social (UDPS) est mort.
Africa mourns the passing away of the indefatigable champion of democracy from la Republique Democratique du Congo, M. Etienne Tshisekedi. He was the father of democracy in his motherland.
I first heard his name in 1997, while in primary school. The rebel troops of Laurent Kabila were sweeping through the provinces of Zaire enroute to Kinshasa. Uncertainty hang in the air as a showdown loomed between Kabila’s rebel forces and loyalist troops of long serving strong man, Mobutu Sese Seko (the great plunderer). The international media made a loud count-down of Kabila’s rapid advance. But another name was making concurrent headlines; Etienne Tshisekedi.
M. Tshisekedi had endured years of persecution under Mobutu. He was imprisoned many times for his beliefs, chief among them the demand for the democratization of the Congo. Now as rebellion grew in the East , he stood up to the vile dictator one more time mounting a resistance in the capital that paved the way for Kabila’s final victory. Mobutu was toppled. However Tshisekedi soon fell out with Kabila as the latter banned political parties and consolidated power. The struggle for democracy continued. 
M.Tshisekedi enters his final rest when the DRC is at the threshold of democratic transition. He was instrumental in a recent deal between president Joseph Kabila and the opposition in which Kabila will leave power peacefully after a one year extension of his presidency but will have to appoint a prime minister from the opposition with whom to co-manage the transition. 
Sadly, but following the script of the greats, Monsieur Tshisekedi will never bask in the glory of the new DRC he yearned and fought for his entire life. However the generations that come after him will celebrate him as one of Africa’s greatest pro-democracy champions. He was an exemplary figure. The continent has lost a soldier in the non-violent struggle for change.
The greatest homage the DRC can pay its selfless son on behalf of Africa is the peaceful transfer of political power from the govt. of president Joseph Kabila to a new govt. within one year.
Reposez en paix monsieur Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba.


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