Congo (DRC) cartoonist prepares to sketch a new president

Thembo Kashauri has sketched some of the most scathing parodies of Joseph Kabila, yet Congo’s best-known political cartoonist has mixed feelings about the taciturn president’s impending departure after nearly two decades in power. 

KINSHASA- |Reuters|AIWA! NO!|Thembo Kashauri has sketched some of the most scathing parodies of Joseph Kabila, yet Congo’s best-known political cartoonist has mixed feelings about the taciturn president’s impending departure after nearly two decades in power.

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Thembo Kashauri, Democratic Republic of Congo’s best-known political cartoonist signs his name on a drawing in an office in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 26, 2018. Picture taken December 26, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

“He had an atypical personality for a head of state but he inspired a lot of my drawings,” the cartoonist known as Kash said in his cramped studio cluttered with old computer equipment in the capital Kinshasa.

“His silences were so eloquent that the fact he didn’t speak much said a lot,” he said of Kabila, who has governed Democratic Republic of Congo since his father’s assassination in 2001.

After Kabila finally agreed not to defy presidential term limits by standing in Sunday’s election, Kash drew a weeping Joseph with his signature salt-and-pepper beard and thick head of hair being comforted by South Africa’s president.

“Power is life,” sobs Kabila as Cyril Ramaphosa reassures him there is life after the presidency.

The election, which has turned into a race between Kabila’s favoured candidate and two main opposition challengers, could lead to Congo’s first democratic transfer of power after decades marked by armed conflicts.

But the poll, which is already two years late because Kabila refused to go when his mandate expired, has been marred by killings on the campaign trail and opposition outcry after the electoral commission cancelled the vote in several of their strongholds, citing security and health concerns.

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