Exiled Congolese political leader Moïse Katumbi has promised to return to the nation before, but this time his expected arrival on May 20 may really happen.
If so, Katumbi will arrive in Lubumbashi – a town near the Zambian border, in the Kananga province he once governed – exactly three years to the day since he fled the Democratic Republic of Congo while facing fraud and other charges under former President Joseph Kabila.
Katumbi, the head of a “Together for Change” party, planned his own candidacy in last year’s contentious and long-delayed presidential election in which Felix Tshisekedi ultimately prevailed. He was prevented from returning to Lubumbashi in August, and disqualified from candidacy in DR Congo’s elections.
Yet Katumbi, aligned with the Lamuka coalition, backed the Engagement for Citizenship and Development (ECiDé) party candidate Martin Fayulu, who was widely viewed as the legitimate victor. In his statement, Katumbi acknowledged the irregularities of a chaotic Congolese political contest he flatly said was orchestrated by Kabila, but also upheld the importance of national unity in moving forward.
Katumbi said he is returning to comfort and serve those who have suffered under the previous Congolese government and to secure justice for them. He supports the creation of a national commission to investigate “the crimes committed against the Congolese” for the past two decades.
Katumbi called on the courts, the churches, the country’s nongovernmental organizations and all of its citizens to support the effort.
Kabila and his Common Front for the Congo (FCC) remain in control of the country’s legislature and provincial governance, and formed a coalition with Tshisekedi’s CAP for Change (CACH) earlier this year. Tshisekedi still has yet to announce a prime minister and his cabinet members.
Image: Katumbi file