“The Tolekiste” Wins Parliamentary Seat for Kisangani

Results for the parliamentary seats for Kisangani, D.R. Congo have been released, despite the ongoing struggle to tabulate votes and confirm results of the nationwide race. On the ground sources in Kisangani confirm that Alphonse Awenze (aka the tolekiste and No.48) has won a seat in the national parliament in Kinshasa as a Deputy.

In November, this blog reported about the bicycle taxi driver’s rise to become one of the leading opposition candidates for the area. Awenze began his campaign as a voice for the common man in Kisangani – refusing to take campaign donations or to engage in patronage politics.

However, during President Kabila’s trip to Kisangani 18-19 November, No.48 accepted a car in exchange for throwing in his support for the incumbent president. During his speech in Kisangani’s main square, President Kabila announced that the Boyomais should vote No.48 for Candidate Deputy National and No.3 (himself) for President. The BBC has also reported on Awenze.

The change in non-aligned status sent a tremor through the Kisangani community, especially those who saw the tolekiste as a voice of reason against the endless political corruption and patronage that could be considered Kabila family heritage.  However, as results now show, No.48’s alignment with President Kabila did not seriously harm his reputation.  Now the Boyomais are waiting to see what, if anything, Awenze can get done in Kinshasa.



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