War drums beat in DRC: Tshisekedi threatens to invade Rwanda

Kinshasa. In a fiery campaign finale before Wednesday's election, President Felix Tshisekedi threatened to break off his cautious diplomacy with Rwanda and declare war if re-elected.

Addressing a throng of supporters in Kinshasa, Tshisekedi's voice throbbed with frustration at years of alleged Rwandan meddling in eastern Congo.

"I've had enough of invasions and M23 rebels backed by Kigali!" Tshisekedi roared, his words met with chants of "Kagame aende! (Kagame out!)"

"If you re-elect me, and if Rwanda persists in its aggression, I will request Parliament and Congress to authorize a declaration of war. We will march on Kigali. Tell Kagame, those days of playing games with Congolese leaders are over. I will not tolerate his provocations!"

This stark ultimatum caps a week of escalating tensions. Just days ago, Tshisekedi branded Kagame a "dictator" over accusations of Rwandan incursions. Kigali vehemently denies any involvement in eastern Congo's conflicts.

Analysts believe Tshisekedi's tough stance is a calculated gamble aimed at shoring up support among nationalist voters. He faces a crowded field of over 20 candidates, including heavyweight contenders like Moise Katumbi and Martin Fayulu.

 However, the fractured opposition's struggle to coalesce behind a single challenger plays into Tshisekedi's hands.

Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) President Denis Kadima confirmed nearly 44 million registered voters, but insecurity plagues at least three regions, forcing election suspension in those areas.

With polling just days away, Tshisekedi's fiery rhetoric sets the stage for a tense election overshadowed by the specter of regional conflict.

Whether his gambit for nationalistic fervor pans out or backfires remains to be seen. One thing is certain: the next chapter in DRC-Rwanda relations promises to be a dramatic one.