DRC MPs attack Kabila ahead of trial of opposition chief

2018-06-26 20:38
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila. (Photo: AFP)

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila. (Photo: AFP) (Joseph Kabila )

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dozens of legislators in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have attacked President Joseph Kabila over the trial, opening on Wednesday, of opposition leader Moise Katumbi who intends to contest upcoming elections.

Katumbi and six others, including an American national, are to go on trial before the Supreme Court of Justice, his lawyer Mumba Gana said.

They face charges of "harming domestic security", according to a court document seen by AFP.

Katumbi is accused of recruiting and arming mercenaries after falling out politically with Kabila in late 2015.

A wealthy businessman, Katumbi has been living in self-imposed exile in Belgium since May 2016 and cannot return without fear of arrest as he has been convicted in a separate case involving alleged property fraud.

In a letter to Kabila, 50 pro-Katumbi MPs and senators lashed the trial as "nothing but a shame for the highest authority of the state, which you embody."

"Hatred for political adversaries, personal ambition or thirst for power cannot authorise judicial harassment against a citizen," the letter, published by the DRC media, said.

It added: "It is difficult to believe in the sincerity of your declarations about the holding of democratic elections in our country on December 23... so long as you have not put an end to all the fake scandals concocted against Moise Katumbi."

The trial comes in the run-up to the period, from July 24 to August 8, for declaring candidacies to the elections.

Katumbi, 53, a former governor of the mineral-rich region of Katanga, has declared he will return to the country to file his bid despite the threat of arrest.

Kabila, a former soldier, has been in power since 2001 when he took over from his assassinated father.

Presiding over a government widely criticised as corrupt and incompetent, he was constitutionally due to quit office in December 2016 at the end of his second elected mandate.

But he has remained in power until a successor is elected, provoking street protests that have been violently repressed resulting in several deaths.

Whether he will run again has become a toxic issue in the highly volatile country.

A third element has made things even more unpredictable - former warlord and ex-vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, who has been acquitted of war crimes charges in The Hague.

It remains unclear whether he intends to stage a political comeback - and if he faces prosecution if he comes back.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    joseph ­kabila  |  drc  |  central africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.