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Nobel laureate Mukwege welcomed back home in DR Congo

The 2018 Nobel peace laureate, Dr Denis Mukwege back home for the first time since receiving the award. (AGENCIES PHOTO)

KINSHASHA- Thousands of people in DR Congo turned out to welcome a Congolese gynecologist and Pentecostal pastor, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Denis Mukwege.

Earlier alone, Mr Mukwege arrived on a UN flight and was driven into the city with an escort of UN peacekeepers.

Mukwete is also known as the surgeon who helps women recover from the trauma of rape.

“He is the pride of Congolese women and even women of the whole world,” said Ms Magasine, the local head of the country’s ministry for families.

It’s believed that Mukwege’s Panzi hospital has treated several victims of sexual violence in his war-weary native province of South Kivu.

But since an attempt on his life in October 2012, he lives inside the hospital compound under the protection of UN peacekeepers.

Mukwete arrived wearing a scarf bearing the national colours and the hero was welcomed by a crowd dominated by women.

“We will build a more beautiful country than before, with peace,” he promised the citizens.

Mr Mukwege showed the crowd his Nobel Prize and pledged the $400,000 prize money that came with it would be ploughed back into treating the women under his care.

“This is a beautiful day for me, this prize is your prize, protect it! Let’s build a lasting peace,” he added.

“Why not a special tribunal for the Congo?” he added, referring to past examples of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Mr Muwkege arrived a day after the country’s election panel announced yet another delay to presidential, legislative and municipal elections in troubled parts of the country, provoking violent protests.

He noted that no local politicians had turned out for this event, said the electoral process appeared to have stalled and called for the Constitution to be respected.

Recently, Mukwege urged President Joseph Kabila to give up power.

He also urged all those in power to “measure the gravity of the situation to avoid chaos”.

“We’re sick of it,” he added, to the delight of the crowd.

President Kabila has been in power in 2001 since the assassination of his father, Laurent-Desire Kabila.

He was to step down at the end of 2016 after two terms in office. But instead, he stayed on, invoking a clause in the constitution that enables a president to stay in office until a successor is elected.

“It’s him, our president because he speaks of peace,” said one young member of the audience after Mukwege’s speech.

Mukwege shared this year’s Nobel Prize with Nadia Murad, the Iraqi Yazidi woman campaigning for people after herself surviving as a hostage of Islamic State jihadists.

 

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