The mortal remains of Etienne Tshisekedi, which arrived in the Congolese capital Kinshasa from Belgium on Thursday night, 30 May 2019, was on Friday, 31 May 2019, taken to lie in state at Martyrs Stadium.
It is the first step of a national funeral planned for the founder of the ruling Democratic Union for Social Progress Party (UDPS).
The late Tshisekedi’s remains were kept at a funeral home in Belgium for 28 months.
A popular tribute will be held throughout the day, followed by a funeral vigil until dawn in Kinshasa.
After that, there will be the burial scheduled on Saturday, 1 June 2019, in the town of Nsele east of the capital.
The plane that was transporting the late Tshisekedi, who died on 1 February 2017 in Brussels, landed on Thursday night, 30 May 2019, at the Ndjili International Airport in Kinshasa eight hours behind schedule, due to logistical reasons, according to a statement from the Congolese Presidency.
The thousands of militants, who patiently waited at the airport for hours, marched with a white hearth covered with flowers in the streets of the capital, carrying banners to the glory of the father of the current president, Felix Tshisekedi, wearing shirts with his features and branches in mourning.
President Tshisekedi’s family and organizers of the funeral do not want to talk about mourning, because according to them the late politician “is a hero who must be celebrated.”
To live up to this, musical groups have been asked to play during the funeral.
For the organization of the ceremony, the deputy spokesperson of President Felix Tshisekedi, Tina Salama tweeted that the government’s contribution would amount to two million dollars.
Still, according to her, the rest of the costs, which she did not specify, will come from individuals, Congolese and foreigners, willing to offer a dignified funeral to Etienne Tshisekedi.
According to the press of the Congolese Presidency, at least ten heads of state and government have announced their presence at the funeral.
After the official tributes, the burial mass, slated for Saturday will be led by the Archbishop of Kinshasa, Mgr Fridolin Ambongo.