Katumbi, who spent a few days in Zambia attempting to cross to Congo where he was due to file his candidature, says he was surprised with the amount of works on the ground.
“Zambia is a land of progress, a land of democracy. You know I have got a lot of houses in Kitwe, in Ndola even some in Lusaka.
“I didn’t even remember where I left my houses because you can see there is a real job which the government is doing, new roads, new malls,” he said in an interview.
Katumbi was blocked from entering the DRC after authorities deployed the local police and army at Kasumbalesa border post.
The former Katanga governor was due to file his nomination for presidency ahead of the December 23 polls. The nominations close on Wednesday August 8, 2018.
His private jet was denied landing rights on Friday last week and attempts to enter the DRC by road the same day and last Saturday still yielded no success.
Katumbi was holed up in Lusaka and Kitwe for the few times he attempted to return to the DRC two years after he went into exile.
He said he was impressed with the efforts by President Edgar Lungu.
“You know people today can criticise the government; it’s normal [because] nobody can give you 100% credit. I was a governor, to make a road is a lot of money, to give water, electricity, stability is a lot of sweat.
“I think the president is not sleeping because there is a lot of job going on.
“If you visit my country in Congo, they should compare, they’re going to say ‘Zambians are very lucky’ to have a president like President Lungu who is continuing with the program to develop Zambia,” he explained.
Katumbi said Zambians enjoyed a lot of freedoms including exercising their democratic rights.
“The opposition is there, everyone can talk freely. In my country if you talk freely there is a place in jail for you. There is over 2000 people, opposition people in Congo which are jailed,” he said.
Katumbi says the mushrooming of shopping malls was equally a good sign of a performing economy.
“I can see the Sun Hotel in Kitwe. I can see a lot of malls. I know other people will say it’s just a mall, just bring that same mall in Kinshasa in the capital, the building I have seen here in Kitwe, Kabila didn’t do it in 17 years. So we should appreciate what is going on in our neighboring country.
“That’s what we need to copy also as Congolese to make sure everything goes well; goes like Zambia,” he added.
Katumbi said he was inspired by the works of President Lungu.
“Today, everyone knows the leadership very well of President Lungu. All these things is lifting Zambia up.
“Some people can’t see it…the majority have seen what is going on. I was in Zambia for 10 years. I had businesses here in Zambia, I can see really the great job President Lungu and his government and the people of Zambia are contributing to this,” he said.
Katumbi believes given the chance, President Lungu had the potential to accellerate development in the country.