Exiled DRC leader launches presidential campaign


JOHANNESBURG – Exiled Congolese opposition leader Moise Katumbi launched a campaign on Monday to be elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo in polls scheduled for December.

He unveiled his new “Together for Change” party at a meeting of supporters in Mulderdrift, north of Johannesburg.

“We will fight the battle to take power — and we will win,” said Katumbi.

“This fight and the successful transfer of power are national issues… so we have decided to establish a political movement known as ‘Together for Change’.”

The DRC election was originally scheduled for late 2016, but has been twice delayed, leading to unrest.

But Katumbi faces an outstanding sentence of three years imprisonment over a property deal and has spent three years in exile in Belgium as a result.

Congolese authorities have vowed to arrest him if he returns.

Katumbi did not discuss how he planned to return to his native country.

His new grouping received the backing of more than a dozen small opposition parties, which had sent delegates to the gathering in South Africa.

President Joseph Kabila, who took over from his father Laurent after he was assassinated in 2001, has not yet clearly stated whether he will step aside.

He was due to stand down from office in December 2016, at the end of his second elected term, but controversially stayed on under laws enabling him to retain power until his successor is elected.

Anti-government protests have turned deadly in recent months, raising international concern that the country could slide into all-out violence as it heads to the elections.

The violence has pitted Kinshasa authorities against the Catholic church, which has backed the demonstrations that have denounced Kabila’s government as corrupt.


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