As the Democratic Republic of Congo is heading to the polls, only one woman out of the 25 candidates submitted her name and was approved by the country’s elections commission, Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).
Marie-Josée Ifoku Mputa Mpunga is ready to succeed Joseph Kabila who had announced that he was not going to stand for re-election come December 23.
Born in 1965, Mpunga is no stranger to politics. She served as the deputy governor of Tshuapa, one of DR Congo’s 26 provinces in 2016.
She is running under the Alliance of the Elites for a New Congo, which had been conducting drives to get members to join the party. With her background and personality, she believes she can offer Congo a new start.
“I’m a mom passionate, determined, constant, disciplined, visionary, ambitious, wise, patient and integrates, here are attributes that can make a big difference with others,” she said in a Facebook post.
Mpunga is inspired by Catherine Samba-Panza, DR Congo’s only women to be president, even in an acting capacity, who she considers her ‘political godmother’.
Away from politics, Mpunga is also a preacher.
Mpunga is set to compete against other renowned politicians in the country including Ramazani Shadary who had been endorsed by President Kabila; and other opposition leaders like Felix Tshisekedi, Jean Pierre Bemba and Vital Kamerhe, who are in talks about fronting a single candidate.
She will also face off the oldest candidate, 92-year-old Antoine Gizenga and the youngest candidate 37-year old Seth Kikuni.
The elections commission will publish another provisional list of candidates on August 24 and a final list on September 19.