NewsCentral AfricaExiled Congo opposition leader Katumbi to return home for presidential bid


Posted on Thursday, 02 August 2018 11:29

Exiled Congo opposition leader Katumbi to return home for presidential bid

By Reuters

Congolese opposition leader, Moise Katumbi speaks to delegates at a three-day forum in a resort hotel near Johannesburg, South Africa, Monday, March 12, 2018. Photo:Themba Hadebe/AP/SIPACongolese opposition leader Moise Katumbi plans to return home on Friday (August 3) after two years in exile to submit his candidacy for December's presidential election, his political party's officials said on Monday.






But both Katumbi and another prominent opposition politician, Jean-Pierre Bemba, could be barred from contesting the election, potentially easing the way for sitting President Joseph Kabila or his chosen successor.

Katumbi, a millionaire businessman and former governor of the copper-mining Katanga region, left Democratic Republic of Congo in May 2016, accused by the government of plotting against Kabila.

Contesting the election

He was sentenced to three years in prison the following month for real estate fraud. Katumbi denies the charges and says they are aimed at preventing him from contesting the election.

Katumbi wrote to Congo's civil aviation authority on Monday (July 30) to request permission to land his private plane in Lubumbashi.

Kabila, who took power in 2001 after his father's assassination, is barred by constitutional term limits from standing for a third term in the Dec. 23 vote.

However, he has refused to commit publicly to stepping aside and some of his allies have in recent weeks argued that a legal technicality allows him to stand again. The deadline to submit candidacies is Aug. 8.

Another opposition leader, Jean-Pierre Bemba, was greeted by tens of thousands of cheering supporters on Wednesday (August 1) as he returned to Democratic Republic of Congo after a decade in prison to submit his candidacy for December's presidential election.

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