Moïse Katumbi, the exiled Congolese political leader who launched his “Together for Change” coalition and announced his presidential run in March, appeared in a Facebook Live session at the Atlantic Council in Washington D.C. on Wednesday to discuss the election in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Katumbi, alongside Felix Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party, met with J. Peter Pham, the Africa Center director at the think tank, to discuss their concerns about President Joseph Kabila, the planned December election and the credibility of the process.
The Congolese opposition leaders – traveling to the United States in a show of solidarity – appealed to the international community to ensure a fair and credible election process. Tshisekedi expressed concern over the potential for the volatile central African nation to fall into civil war over the elections, which have been delayed since Kabila’s refusal to step down after two terms in December 2016.
“The situation is serious,” he said, adding that the two Congolese politicians were asking for support for a democratic process. Katumbi said his Together for Change campaign was meant to be a political movement of the people, as Tshisekedi affirmed their aspirations for more peaceful and secure future.
Katumbi, a former politician and popular businessman, has lived in exile since the Kabila administration convicted him in absentia to three years in prison on real estate fraud – a charge Katumbi denies as politically motivated. He has faced new accusations that he plans to overthrow the Kabila regime by force, and that he no longer holds Congolese citizenship and is not eligible to run.
The Katumbi-Tshisekedi trip to the U.S. comes amid renewed calls from opposition politicians in Kinshasa for elections to proceed without Kabila, a position supported by the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) bishops last year and embraced by many Congolese protesters.
To watch the Atlantic Council discussion, which is in French, check this link.
Image: Atlantic Council