Opposition leader Moïse Katumbi made his triumphant return to the Democratic Republic of Congo today. Katumbi has been living in exile in Belgium for three years after he was charged by former president Joseph Kabila’s government of several crimes including fraud, hiring foreign mercenaries and illegally acquiring a second citizenship.
Katumbi denies all the charges which he says were politically motivated. He also, at one time, accused the Kabila government of trying to poison him, an allegation the government denied. Convictions against Katumbi have since been dismissed under the new government led by Felix Tshisekedi, paving way for the 54-year old opposition leader to return to his country a free man.
Katumbi was set to run in the presidential election to replace Kabila late last year, but he was blocked from doing so. Tshisekedi ultimately won. Other political exiles have also begun returning after Kabila's presidency.
Social media, as well as the city of Lubumbashi, has been ablaze following news of Katumbi's return. Crowds swelled at the airport, eager to greet the politician. Once he touched down, Katumbi was received by thousands of excited supporters from his Ensemble pour le Changement party at the Luano airport. The man of the hour stepped out of his private jet dressed in all-white.
Katumbi previously served as the governor of Katanga province from 2007 to 2015. He is one of the most powerful men in DRC and was once described as the second in power only to Joseph Kabila. His net worth from numerous business ventures is estimated to be in the multi-millions.
Header Image Credit: Africa News