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Fearless Katumbi announces July return date to contest DR Congo presidency

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Exiled Congolese opposition leader Moise Katumbi vowed on Monday to return to Democratic Republic of Congo by June to lodge his candidacy for a presidential election to replace President Joseph Kabila, currently scheduled for December.

“I’m not scared of returning to Congo,” Katumbi told a news conference in Johannesburg. He left Congo in May 2016 for medical treatment after being accused by prosecutors of hiring mercenaries.

“I will be there to present my candidacy,” he said, although he declined to give a more precise date.

The TP Mazembe owner and bankroller is sought after by Congolese authorities over two cases his lawyers says are merely political witch hunts. Law enforcement authorities have promised to arrest him if he returns to the country.

The political climate is very tense in the DRC where the mandate of President Kabila ended on December 20, 2016. Elections are scheduled for December 23, 2018.

For the past three months, marches – banned by the authorities – have been held at the call of Catholic church to ask President Kabila to declare publicly that he would contest as a candidate. 14 people have so far died as a result.

The opposition accuses President Kabila of looking for ways to extend his stay in power.

DRC's Katumbi plans December 2017 return to face 'scared' Kabila https://t.co/J1KGDKeWb8

— africanews (@africanews) October 10, 2017

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