A top Congolese opposition leader and other figures opposed to longtime President Joseph Kabila met in South Africa on Monday to build a coalition ahead of long-delayed elections in the turbulent, resource-rich country. Ending a three-day forum, delegates at a resort hotel near Johannesburg said they would work together to elect Moise Katumbi, who fled Congo in 2016 amid legal troubles that he said were fabricated to stop him from challenging Kabila. The meeting came amid an escalating humanitarian crisis in Congo and fears of intensifying violence in the run-up to the vote scheduled for December. Katumbi told cheering supporters that Congo must hold “credible and transparent elections” and appealed to his compatriots to “rebuild our country together.”
The audience watched a slick video that outlined his accomplishments as the former governor of Congo’s Katanga province and head of one of Africa’s major soccer teams, TP Mazembe. Katumbi backers waved flags bearing his image and wore T-shirts with an image of clasped hands and the slogan “Ensemble,” which means “Together” in French.
Their goal is to “fight against those who want to maintain power,” activist Germain Kabemba said.