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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Profile: Congo opposition candidates

A total of 33 candidates are standing in Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election on 30 July. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the votes cast in the first round of polls, the two leading contenders will face a second round on 15 October. BBC Monitoring profiles 10 of the candidates.

Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo

Vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo of MLC party (Movement for the Liberation of Congo)

Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo was sworn in as one of four vice-presidents in the transitional government in July 2003.

He was born in 1962 in Equateur province. His father was a prominent businessman and a friend of former President Mobutu Sese Seko.

He established the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) in 1998 and is standing as the party's candidate in the election. During the 1998-2002 civil war, the MLC, then a rebel movement backed by Uganda, controlled vast areas in the north of the country.

Mr Bemba, who owns several media outlets, was the first candidate to campaign in the mineral-rich south-eastern province of Katanga.

Azarias Ruberwa Manywa

Vice-president Azarias Ruberwa of RCD party

Azarias Ruberwa is a 41-year-old lawyer from Rugezi, South Kivu.

Mr Manywa is one of the four vice-presidents in the transitional government and is leader of the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD-Goma), a former Rwandan-backed rebel group turned political party which operates in eastern Congo.

He advocates the formation of a government of national unity, in which President Joseph Kabila would be represented, along with his own movement and the Ugandan-backed MLC.

Mr Manywa has a reputation as a serious-minded politician but his Tutsi origins may count against him with some Congolese.

Pierre Pay Pay wa Syakasighe

Pierre Pay Pay wa Syakasighe of DCF-COFEDEC party (Image taken from IRIN website)

Pierre Pay Pay is a 60-year-old economist and former minister from Kivu in the east of the country.

An economics graduate, Mr Pay Pay become the governor of the central bank during the rule of the late President Mobutu Sese Seko.

He later held several key cabinet portfolios in the 1980s and 1990s, before going into exile in 1997.

In 2002, Mr Pay Pay returned to the country and was appointed to the Transitional National Assembly as a representative of the unarmed political opposition.

He is standing as the candidate for his Federalist Christian Democracy-Convention of Federalists for Christian Democracy (DCF-COFEDEC).

Along with Jean-Pierre Bemba he is said to be one of President Joseph Kabila's closest competitors. His main support base is in his native Kivu.

Roger Lumbala

Roger Lumbala of Congolese Rally for Democracy-National party (RCD-N)

Former rebel leader Roger Lumbala is standing as the candidate of the Congolese Rally for Democracy-National (RCD-N). He is a former minister of external trade in the transitional government.

Backed by Uganda during the 1998-2002 civil war, Mr Lumbala's rebel movement was allied to Jean-Pierre Bemba's Movement for the Liberation of Congo.

Gerard Kamanda wa Kamanda

Gerard Kamanda wa Kamanda of FCN party (still taken from RTNC TV)

Gerard Kamanda wa Kamanda is a 65-year-old minister from Kasai Occidental province.

In the 1960s, Mr Kamanda was appointed as an adviser to former President Mobutu Sese Seko. He also held several ministerial portfolios during the 1990s, including those of prime minister and deputy prime minister.

He is currently serving as the minister of scientific research in the transitional government.

Mr Kamanda is the presidential candidate for the Nationalist Common Front (FCN), which he helped establish in 1990. He has said he wants to boost science and technology and work towards the modernisation of DR Congo.

On 11 July he was among 19 presidential candidates who raised concerns about alleged irregularities within the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI).

Arthur Z'ahidi Ngoma

Arthur Z'ahidi Ngoma of CP party

Arthur Z'ahidi Ngoma, 59, is one of the four current vice-presidents in the transitional government, representing the political opposition.

Mr Ngoma is a former university lecturer and has also worked for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).

He was imprisoned in 1997 in connection with his political activities and shortly afterwards left the country.

He led the rebel group Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) but left to found the Congolese Union for Peace (UCP) in 1999.

He is standing as the candidate for the Force of the Future (also known as Camps de la Patrie - CP).

Antoine Gizenga

Antoine Gizenga of PALU party

At 80 years old, Antoine Gizenga is the oldest of the candidates. For 45 years he kept alive the political legacy of Patrice Lumumba, the country's first elected premier.

He served as deputy prime minister during the post-independence period in 1960 and since then has led the Unified (Palu) Lumumbist Party.

Between 1962 and 1965 Mr Gizenga was imprisoned on several occasions and he then lived in exile from 1965 to 1992.

Based in the provinces of Kinshasa, Bandundu and Bas-Congo, Mr Gizenga's Unified Lumumbist Party (Palu) is the only party besides Mr Kabila's platform that can count on support in all 11 provinces.

He says he is seeking to provide the country with a legitimate government based on the model set by Patrice Lumumba.

Francois Joseph Mobutu Nzanga Ngangawe

Nzanga Mobutu of UDEMO party (Union for Democratic Mobutuists)

Commonly known as Nzanga Mobutu, he is the son of the late former President Mobutu Sese Seko and chairman of the Union of Mobutist Democrats (UDEMO).

The Union of Democratic Mobutists (UDEMO) is an alliance of political parties and civil society associations and non-governmental organisations advocating the restoration of peace, national unity and territorial integrity.

At 36 years old he is one of the youngest presidential candidates. He entered politics in 1992 as adviser and spokesman for his father.

He has solid support in his home base of the north-eastern province of Equateur.

He is married to the sister of his rival, Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba.

Eugene Diomi Ndongala

Eugene Diomi Ndongola of DC party (Image taken from IRIN website)

Eugene Diomi Ngongala, 46, was born in the Sonabata area of Bas-Congo province. He is the candidate for the Christian Democracy party (DC), which he founded in 1992.

Mr Ngongala was appointed deputy minister of economy and industry in 1994, and later became the finance minister. However, he fell from grace and was imprisoned without trial several times between December 1997 and January 1998.

Five years later, he became minister of mines in the transitional government, but was dismissed from this post in 2004 after being charged with corruption.

During his campaign, Mr Ndongala has pledged to provide free emergency treatment in public hospitals and to develop the country's communications infrastructure.

Oscar Kashala Lukumuenda

Oscar Kushala Lukumuenda (Image taken from IRIN website)

Oscar Kashala is a 51-year-old Harvard-trained doctor who has lived in the US since 1987, where he worked for a major bio-pharmaceutical firm. He returned to DR Congo recently to contest the election.

Mr Kashala is a newcomer to politics, but says that his lack of involvement in his country's violent past and the expertise he has gained overseas offer a fresh start for the Congolese people.

He was a relatively unknown contender until more than 30 of his employees were accused of plotting a coup in May 2006. He says the episode was an effort by the President Kabila's government to intimidate him and sabotage his campaign.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




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