DRC: Moïse Katumbi could be barred from election

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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) most popular opposition leader could be barred from standing in elections later this year after it was revealed he held Italian citizenship for sixteen years.

According to media reports, Moïse Katumbi held Italian citizenship between October 2000 and January 2017. Under the DRC’s constitution, nationals aren’t permitted to have dual citizenship and need to petition to the government in order to regain their DRC nationality.

Moïse Katumbi could be barred from election

The DRC’s constitutional rules on nationality are loosely enforced and many politicians in the country are believed to have dual citizenship. However, Moïse Katumbi’s status as the country’s most popular opposition candidate puts him in a difficult position now that these allegations have been made.

According to a poll released earlier this month, Katumbi would come first in a presidential election with 24% of the vote if it was held now. The DRC is scheduled to hold elections this December, two years after President Joseph Kabila was due to step down – as required by the same constitution Katumbi is deemed to have violated.

The opposition politician argues that nobody can deny his Congolese nationality but hasn’t denied having held Italian citizenship in the past.

Meanwhile, the country’s electoral commission has said millions of duplicates were found among those registered to vote scheduled for December 23. The security situation in the DRC continues to deteriorate, too, as ethnic violence intensifies in parts of the country and discontent in the capital over Kabila’s prolonged stay in power refuses to settle.

Featured image: By Radio Okapi – Moise KatumbiUploaded by moyogo, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11144483

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.