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Pro-Kabila candidate Shadary unveils platform for DR Congo polls

Ramazani Shadary

Kinshasa, DR Congo | AFP |  President Joseph Kabila’s chosen successor on Monday unveiled his platform ahead of a landmark election in the Democratic Republic of Congo next month.

Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary set out an $86 billion (75 billion euro) five-year development plan for the sprawling central African country.

Making his first public remarks since longstanding leader Kabila anointed him in early August, Shadary told supporters that he would reinforce the authority of the state, diversify the economy, create jobs, combat poverty and guarantee access to public services.

Shadary made the pledges three days ahead of the official start of campaigning for the December 23 poll to succeed Kabila, who has been in power since January 2001.

The election is critical for the future of the DR Congo, a mineral-rich country that has never known a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

Kabila’s second and final elected term in office ended nearly two years ago, but he stayed in office thanks to a caretaker clause in the constitution.

Months of speculation over Kabila’s intentions, marked by protests that were repressed at a cost of dozens of lives, ended in August when he threw his weight behind Shadary, a hardline former interior minister and loyalist.

Seven opposition leaders have picked little-known MP Martin Fayulu as their joint candidate in the vote.

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