It has emerged that Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) opposition presidential candidate Moise Katumbi held Italian citizenship from October 3 2000, until January 13 2017.
According to a report published in Jeune Afrique, a municipality in southern Italy confirmed that he indeed was an Italian citizen during this period.
This could jeopardize his presidential bid for the upcoming December 23 polls since under Congo’s law, article 10 of the 2006 constitution prohibits dual citizenship. It states,” Congolese nationality is one and exclusive and cannot be held concurrently with another.”
During ten years, when he was the governor of Katanga when he was still supporting president Joseph Kabila, the presidential majority never questioned the fact that he was Congolese. Only now, after he has launched his presidential bid do they doubt it
It is alleged that he most likely acquired the citizenship through his father who was born in the island of Rhodes which was at one time under Italian rule.
Katumbi’s citizenship has previously raised questions. In June last year, DRC’s minister of Justice Alexis Mwamba suggested that Katumbi should initiate the process of revoking his Italian citizenship in order to revert to Congolese citizenship as per the law.
Though he has not commented on the matter, his spokesperson Olivier Kamitatu suggested it was politically instigated.
He said,” During ten years, when he was the governor of Katanga when he was still supporting president Joseph Kabila, the presidential majority never questioned the fact that he was Congolese. Only now, after he has launched his presidential bid do they doubt it.”
The exiled businessman and former governor of Katanga province is expected to return to DRC by June to lodge his candidacy for the elections.
Other opposition figures apart those from the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, the party of the late opposition chief Etienne Tshisekedi, have rallied behind him.