Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - Heads of State from all over Africa and thousands of people attended the funeral of Etienne Tshisekedi, historical leader of the Congolese opposition, and father of the current President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Félix Tshisekedi. The funeral took place on 1 June in Nsele, a town close to the capital, Kinshasa, more than two years after the death of the politician, who died in a clinic in Brussels on 1 February 2017. For political reasons the body of Tshisekedi was repatriated only on May 30th.
"He was a great man, a great leader, a great visionary for his Congo, a brave man, a man who was constant in his struggle for the search for democracy and freedom. Congo has the moral obligation to be grateful to this great man", said Fr. Gilbert Yamba, in the funeral mass celebrated at Charles Saint Charles Borromée de Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (Brussels), on 26 May before the departure of the body for the RDC.
Recalling his role as an opponent first to Mobutu then to Kabila, Fr. Yamba pointed out that Etienne Tshisekedi, "helped the Congolese recover from fear, lethargy and the culture of fatality. He helped the Congolese people to get up and take control of their own destiny". For 40 years in the opposition, Tshisekedi always refused to resort to armed struggle, preferring that of dialogue and peaceful struggle. An example that goes beyond the DRC, extending to all of Africa, as witnessed by the presence at the funeral of numerous delegations of African states.
Upon arrival in Kinshasa, the remains of Etienne Tshisekedi were met by a human tide. A dozen African Heads of State attended the funeral, including the President of Congo Brazzaville, Denis Sassou-Nguessso, Rwanda, Paul Kagame, Angola, João Lourenço, Togo, Faure Gnassingbé, Kenya Uhuru Kenyata, of Zambia, Edgar Lungu of Guinea Alpha Condé. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 3/6/2019)