Opposition politicians in the Democratic Republic of Congo have stood in solidarity with popular but barred opposition leader Moise Katumbi whom they have demanded that he be allowed to enter the country and file his nomination for the December 23 Presidential elections.
Despite being political rivals the loose coalition of opposition leaders are calling for unity, free and fair, transparent, and inclusive elections.
Kabila’s announcement that he will not seek a third term has not gone the full mile to clear the way for an all-inclusive elections with Katumbi barred from entering the DRC by the incumbent who sees him as the biggest threat to his hold on power.
Elections were to have taken place at the end of 2016 and Kabila was already barred from running for a third term under the very Constitution he once championed. Instead, he continues to not allow willing candidates to participate in the election amid lingering questions over the use of electronic voting machines – which some are concerned may be rigged by the government.
Moise Katumbi, who is the presidential candidate of a coalition of parities, Together for Change, was fully exonerated in a bogus conviction of real estate fraud charges following an investigation by an independent panel under the auspices of the country’s Catholic bishops. However, when he tried to return from exile to formally file as a candidate, Kabila’s government sealed the borders.
“The Opposition condemns firmly the decision taken by the Congolese government to deny the authority of Moise Katumbi Chapwe to return to the Democratic Republic of Congo, thus forcing him into exile and preventing him to file his candidacy for the presidential elections, in blatant violation of article 30 paragraph 2 of the Constitution, article 12.4 of the International Pact of the United Nations Concerning Civil and Political Rights and article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Opposition condemns the unjustifiable deployment of armed forces on August 3 and 4, 2018, to Kasumbalesa as well as force used by the military on Congolese citizens who had come in large numbers to welcome Mr. Katumbi,” the statement said.
Kabila is clearly determined to fix the election so his hand-picked candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, can triumph.
[This recent poll shows a number of opposition candidates with positive approval ratings (Gov. Katumbi leading the way with 82%), while the current regime is at 21%. Statistically consistent with the polling from February. Separately, the European Union has imposed sanctions on Shadary due to his role in crushing pro-democracy demonstrations.
In a further affirmation of their solidarity in ensuring free and fair elections take place at the end of the year, opposition leaders declared they are holding discussions “to appoint a single candidate to the next presidential election with a common program to improve the living conditions of the Congolese people.”
Katumbi is still pressing his case to have his nomination papers filed outside the deadline as he was not allowed to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo.