Government has allegedly assured the DR Congo that its popular opposition leader Moïse Katumbi will not be allowed into Zambia again. The DR Congo protested after Katumbi was spotted in Lusaka together with President Lungu’s spokesman Amos Chanda at the semi-final of the 2017 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations. The Congolese embassy in Zambia pointed out that Katumbi, a former governor of Katanga Province in the DR Congo, was facing criminal charges in the DR Congo: “Mr Moïse Katumbi Chapwe displays behaviour likely to undermine the peace, stability and well-being of the Congolese people”, mentioning an array of reasons, such as Katumbi lobbying the international community to take sanctions against the DR Congo, and him pushing the Congolese population to an uprising. The embassy wondered why Katumbi had been issued with an entry visa, and asked: “What would be the reaction of the Zambian government if Mr Hakainde Hichilema was on Congolese territory and received by the high political authorities?” It did forget to mention that Katumbi is the main challenger to incumbent DR Congo President Joseph Kabila, who is refusing to step down, despite his two terms having expired. Katumbi has been in self-imposed exile ever since his arrest warrant was issued in May 2016. However, according to the Zambian Watchdog, Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba has assured the Congolese that Katumbi’s visit will not be repeated. Katumbi has been a regular visitor to Zambia through the years, having befriended several Zambian presidents.

The full letter from the Congolese embassy can be read here.