Popular Katangese businessman Moise Katumbi has quit the ruling party PPRD in what many observers say is sending shivers to Democratic Republican of Congo President Joseph Kabila whose mandate to govern the vast central African nation expires next year.
Katumbi announced his resignation both as governor and top PPRD leader in the ruling party moments ago. His statement was posted on social media, including the twitter account.
Observers say the people of D.R Congo have been searching for an alternative to President Kabila, and many find Katumbi the perfect fit to take over next year. However, the Katanga supremo has not made his intentions to contest the election.
Indications are that President Kabila is attempting to tamper with the constitution and prolong his stay in power.
The decision by Katumbi to quit the ruling party and his lofty position as governor is a slap in the face of President Kabila.
Katumbi is an influential figure in the mineral-rich province Katanga which has roughly 5.6 million. It’s roughly the size of Spain. He is also chairman of TP Mazembe, one of the best-run football clubs in sub-Saharan Africa, a role that has made him very popular.
At 50, the wealthy and charismatic 50-year-old Katumbi is what many Congolese are rooting for to take over from President Kabila and revitalise the country’s dwindled fortunes.
Once an ally of President Joseph Kabila, Katumbi has lately sounded like a man ready to unseat him. “Congo is the elephant of Africa,” he told the Financial Times in an interview last year. “Now, it’s a dead elephant. Let’s lift this elephant to go far.”
The announcement of his resignation will keep the country of about 60 million people anxious.