Former Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Former Prime Minister
Working primarily in:
Description of Work:
Étienne Tshisekedi worked for years inside the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, then made a complete reversal and spent decades fighting that government. In the early 1980s he co-founded the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS),based on ideals of democracy and nonviolence.
Tshisekedi, remains the head of the UDPS but is not involved in the current transitional government which he has criticized for its lack of progress and delay of promised elections. In 2006, after a two-year boycott, he said he would particpate in the national elections; however, after elections were further postponed, Tshisekedi demanded that the voter registration operations' stations be partially reopened, in order for his militants - who had boycotted the registration on his orders - to get a chance to receive election ID cards, and vote. The Independent Electoral Commission denied this request, on account that it was too late in the process. Tshisekedi then reverted to his previous position of boycotting the elections.
In the week leading to the polls, Tshisekedi's numerous militants protested against the polls, by taking-down and destroying all the electoral banners they could reach in Kinshasa, and other cities, prompting intervention by riot police.
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Dec/14/1932
Place of Origin: Congo-Kinshasa
Born in Luluabourg, now Kananga, Kasai-Occidental, he graduated from Lovanium University School of Law in Leopoldville. He served in Mobutu's government in various positions throughout the late 1960s and 1970s but
in 1979 began to protest its descent into dictatorship and corruption.
In 1980 he was removed from government and thrown in prison for his
criticism. Ever since he has been thrown in and out of prison numerous
times by the government.
Many consider Tshisekedi the most popular politician in the Congo. At times, he has been called the Mandela of Congo.