Koffi Olomide makes the splash for DR Congo senate

DR Congo
Koffi Olomide makes the splash for DR Congo senate
Koffi Olomide

"My brothers in Sud-Ubangi, I've arrived," Koffi, whose real name is Antoine Agbepa Mumba, declared.

Celebrated Congolese rumba maestro Koffi Olomide made the splash in Sud-Ubangi (South Ubangi) province on Tuesday as he joined the race for DR Congo Senate.

Hoisted shoulder-high on a locally-made sedan seat adorned with plantain steps, Koffi declared his current wife Candy Nkunku, aka Cindy Le Coeur (Cindy of the Heart), the "second first lady of Congo".

"My brothers in Sud-Ubangi, I've arrived," Koffi, whose real name is Antoine Agbepa Mumba, declared.

Senate elections take place on April 21. Ninety-two of 108 members of the Senate will be elected by indirect ballot by the members of the 26 provincial assemblies.

The singer, who has over the years titled himself on the moon as Mopao Mokonzi, Rambo du Congo, Le Grand Patron and the GOAT of rumba, is contesting as member of the Alliance des Forces Democratiques du Congo (AFDC) political party.

Koffi and Cindy Le Coeur in Sud-Ubangi

AFDC is led by Bahati Lukwebo, incumbent president of the Senate.

Lukwebo defected from former President Joseph Kabila's  People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) party to join President Felix Tshisekedi's coalition.

"I have served Congo, I've restored the image of my country, Congo, throughout the world and in Africa with my music. People know how well I've done it over the years," Koffi said.

The longstanding rumba musician, 67, said glossed about his welcome at the local airstrip, posing a rhetoric: "Who do you think they came to welcome?"

He answered his own question: "The son of the soil."

Koffi claimed that wherever he goes, "people tell me they see me serving the Congo in ways other than music".

"Koffi, you've got to become a senator, they've even seen me a bit higher than that. I could play one of these roles even without a salary," he declared in a message in which he castigated rich people who enjoy their status as women and children wallow in poverty.

This is not Koffi's first attempt at politics. A few years ago, he joined PPRD party but did not contest for elections despite openly flirting with the approach.

But now that Koffi has dived in, he will be keen to avoid the fate suffered by fellow musician Noel Ngiama Makanda, aka Werrason, who joined the same PPRD party and contested in the legislative elections of 2018.

Werrason suffered a chastising defeat.

The vote follows the re-election of President Félix Tshisekedi at the 2023 presidential election as well as the legislative and provincial elections held concurrently, with the results of the latter leading to the complete renewal of 22 of the 26 electoral colleges responsible for electing senators.

Koffi, with 25 records and some 262 songs to his name, has lived through two generations of Congolese rumba.

He holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Bordeaux in France, which he said he had to earn in order for his father to allow him do music as a career.

Koffi formed Quartier Latin band in 1986 after recording his album Dieu Voit Tout (God sees all) in Paris in 1986. He last year announced he had left all the running of the band in the hands of Cindy Le Coeur.

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