In the DRC, only members and relatives of the regime can move freely in the country. They enter and leave the country without problem. But this is not the case for opponents. They are watched under a magnifying glass. Moses Katumbi Chapwe is one of them. The former governor of Katanga has been in exile since May 2016. Kinshasa denies him the right to participate in the electoral process in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His supporters are either arrested or prevented from meeting and protesting.
According to opinion polls, opponent Moise Katumbi is the most popular political figure in the country. He passes Congolese voting intentions and is likely to win the presidential election scheduled for December 23, 2018. This situation makes him the pet peeve of the regime of President Joseph Kabila. The Congolese authorities have steadily set obstructions to prevent the return of the man who led for nine years the rich Congolese province of Katanga. They promise to arrest him and put him in jail if he dares to return to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Katumbi accused of all crimes
The great sin of Moses Katumbi is not only to have left the presidential majority, but especially to have declared his candidacy for the presidential election. Seeing his popularity, the Kabila regime has sought to tarnish its reputation. The court sentenced Katumbi in absentia to three years in prison in a case of real estate spoliation. It’s a political conviction because the sentencing judge stated that she was pressured by the regime to do so. Then the Congolese government accused the opponent of recruiting mercenaries. The file is in the hands of the Attorney General of the Republic. As Moses Katumbi launched his platform called “Together for Change”, the government issued a new accusation against him saying that the opponent has an Italian nationality.
This latest accusation is the most serious because it automatically prevents Moses Katumbi from running in the presidential election. The Congolese Constitution does not accept dual nationality. Here again, the Attorney General of the Republic seized the case to increase the charges against the opponent Katumbi. The funny thing is that Moses Katumbi served Kabila’s regime for about ten years, and in that time such accusations were never launched against him. He was governor of Katanga and an influential member of the PPRD party of President Kabila. But as soon as he positioned himself as a serious contender for the presidential election to replace Kabila, he became an Italian. Ridiculous accusations that only aim at preventing this opponent from running for the supreme office.
Joseph Kabila’s regime does not stop there. A few weeks ago, the spokesman of the Congolese police again accused Moïse Katumbi of an attempt to create an armed group in the north-east of the country with a view to overthrowing the Congolese government. On the side of the presidential majority, they support the exclusion of Katumbi from the race for the presidential election. Nearly two months before the submission of candidatures for the elections, the opponent and former governor of Katanga may not be allowed to return to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Until now, the government has ignored all the calls of the international community to make the elections scheduled for December 23 inclusive and everyone’s participation.