Martin Fayulu was born on 21 November 1956 in Kinshasa. A Christian by faith Known to his supporters as the “people’s soldier”. He ended 20-year career with Exxon Mobil in 2003. Martin Fayulu was elected MP in 2006 and 2011. He launched political party in 2009.
Despite becoming a full-time politician in 2006, and serving as an MP, he is mostly known as a businessman. Mr Fayulu’s involvement in politics started during the Sovereign National Conference in 1991 that brought together delegates from different regions, political parties, civil society organisations and traditional leaders to campaign for multi-party democracy.
The ruler at the time, Mobutu Sese Seko, allowed the conference to take place after coming under domestic and foreign pressure to end one-party rule. But he ignored the call for multi-party democracy, and was eventually forced out of power in 1997. Mr Fayulu’s transition from business to politics was complete in 2006 when he was elected an MP.
“Congolese call me [the] people’s soldier,” Mr Fayulu told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme, brushing off a question that he is unknown.
Martin Fayulu Full Biography
Martin Fayulu is a fiery orator who has emerged from relative obscurity in the ranks of the opposition to take a front seat in the race to become DR Congo’s next president.
He had a two-decade-long career, starting in 1984, with US oil giant Exxon Mobil, taking up positions in several African states.
Speaking to the AFP news agency a week before his nomination, Fayulu said he left the company on “friendly” terms, receiving a comfortable severance package.
His final posting was in Ethiopia where he was the company’s director general.
A Lingala speaker, Fayulu owns a hotel in Kinshasa located midway between Kabila’s residence and the president’s office.
In March 2009, Mr Fayulu helped launch the Commitment for Citizenship and Development political party and was appointed its leader. He is currently one of the party’s three MPs, which suggests that it does not command huge support among voters.
The businessman has been involved in protests against the extension of Mr Kabila’s time in power. The president’s second and final term in office should have ended in 2016 and delays in holding the presidential election led to suspicions that he was trying to cling to power.
Fiery and at times impulsive, Fayulu was routinely seen at the front of marches against Kabila extending his rule beyond constitutional limits – a bid the president finally renounced in August after exhausting several legal manoeuvres.
On 19 September 2016 a bullet grazed Mr Fayulu’s head after police fired at anti-Kabila protesters in the capital, Kinshasa. At least 17 people were killed in the clashes.
“Fayulu was at the protests to oppose Kabila so many people in Kinshasa will be familiar with him,” Francesca Bomboko, director of polling organisation Berci International said.
He enjoys the support of two heavyweights – former Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba, who has been barred from standing in the election, and self-exiled ex-provincial governor Moise Katumbi, who says he was prevented from returning to Kinshasa to submit his candidacy.
“He’s the one who embodies the real opposition… if he remains incorruptible, Fayulu can become the new Etienne Tshisekedi,” Congolese political analyst Albert Moleka said.
“Kabila sees Fayulu as a radical and I think he must be starting to see the threat that Fayulu could represent for him.”
Fayulu began his campaign to great fanfare in the eastern city of Beni, drawing huge crowds as he toured one of the country’s most dangerous regions which has been ravaged by violence and an Ebola epidemic.
Fayulu edged out key contender Felix Tshisekedi, head of the longtime main opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party and son of its late founder Etienne Tshisekedi.
The opposition nominee is staunchly opposed to the use of voting machines – an issue that may have tilted the selection debate in his favour, as the UDPS has said it would contest the vote whether the machines are used or not.
- Martin Fayulu Biography and Profile