I’m the man Congo needs now, says Bemba

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Bemba at Kinshasa airport

Former warlord and ex-vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba says he is not too old to lead Congo as its next president.

Bemba, 55, has been in detention at The Hague following his trial by the International Criminal Court [ICC] for war crimes.

He returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday after an 11-year absence.

Bemba says he is the man Congo needs

“On the way to the land of my ancestors, my homeland the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” he had earlier tweeted while leaving Brussels.

He added: “My dear compatriots. After a decade of absence, I am on my way to the land of my ancestors, my homeland the Democratic Republic of Congo. I look forward to meeting you there this Wednesday, August 1, 2018.”

In his first exclusive interview made in Brussels with BBC Afrique’s Anne-Marie Dias Borges, Bemba said he “is not too “old” to lead the DRC”.

The former Congolese rebel leader, acquitted by the ICC for war crimes, talks about his political ambitions and his dream for the DRC, claiming that he is the man needed to run the country.

Arriving at Kinshasa airport today from Belgium aboard a private plane, Bemba vowed to contest the country’s twice-delayed elections, due on December 23.

A few minutes after landing, Bemba, accompanied by his wife, went into a VIP suite at the airport, according to AFP.

Hundreds of police clad in anti-riot gear were deployed in central Kinshasa and at the airport, located 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the city.

Kabila, 47, has been at the helm since 2001, presiding over a vast mineral-rich country with a reputation for corruption, inequality and unrest.

He was scheduled to stand down at the end of 2016 after his second elected term, technically the last permitted under the constitution.

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