Ex-Prime Minister Drops Congo Presidential Bid, Backs Katumbi

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(Bloomberg) -- Democratic Republic of Congo’s former prime minister, Matata Ponyo Mapon, dropped his presidential campaign and will back businessman Moise Katumbi.

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Ponyo Mapon made the announcement in a video on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday, the first day of Congo’s electoral campaign before the Dec. 20 vote.

“The urgency of a single candidate from the opposition is the best strategy” to defeat incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi, he said.

Katumbi was previously governor of the mineral-rich former province of Katanga. He made his fortune through a mining and trucking company and owns one of Africa’s most successful football clubs, TP Mazembe.

In the lead-up to the elections this year, Katumbi’s top adviser has been arrested and the spokesman for his party was assassinated. The killing is still under investigation.

Ponyo Mapon, from the sparsely populated eastern province of Maniema, served as prime minister between 2012 and 2016 after leading Congo through a debt-relief process as finance minister.

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