Katumbi and Kabila no longer see eye-to-eye
Congo’s President Joseph Kabila has borrowed a page from his mentor Uganda’s dictator Yoweri Museveni and indicted presidential challenger Moise Katumbi as the country heads into mandated elections at the end of the year.
Separately, a Congolese delegation of opposition leaders is now in Washington, D.C., meeting with members of Congress and the Obama administration to ask that the U.S. impose sanctions on Kabila to force him to hold elections as mandated by the constitution and step aside before the end of December, 2016.
Katumbi, the former governor of Katanga remains in hospital after sustaining injuries in a melee between his supporters and Congo security agents outside a courthouse in Lubumbashi.
Even before the incident BurkinaStyle and The Black Star News reported that security agents planned to stage an incident that would provide the excuse to arrest Katumbi. The confrontation broke out when stones were thrown into the huge crowd of supporters that had daily accompanied Katumbi to his hearings.
Katumbi had been going for daily investigative hearings before a judge on allegations that he hired American mercenaries as part of his security detail, charges his lawyer denied.
The investigation and now the charges and an arrest warrant are seen as a ploy by Kabila to derail Katumbi’s candidacy.
In neighboring Uganda, Gen. Museveni has used similar tactics — treason charges, multiple arrests, and beatings — against his main challenger Dr. Kizza Besiye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party. Besigye, who was sworn in as president on May 11 by a judge and his supporters before Museveni’s own ceremony on May 12 is under arrest and charged with treason. Uganda’s disputed Feb. 18 election was ruled not free, fair and credible by the U.S., the EU, and the Commonwealth.
Kabila is term-limited but there has been no move to plan any elections so far in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.