SITUATION REPORT: CONVICTION OF OPPOSITION LEADER INCREASES DRC UNREST THREAT
There is an elevated threat of unrest in Lubumbashi, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s southern Katanga province, following a local court’s 22 June decision to sentence popular opposition figure and presidential candidate, Moise Katumbi, to three years in prison. Katumbi, who is currently outside of the country receiving medical treatment, was indicted on charges relating to the sale of a house that he allegedly did not own. Katumbi’s supporters have accused the court of failing to follow due process, given that he was charged in absentia. Moreover, they assert that the judgement serves as the government’s latest move to prevent Katumbi from contesting the country’s 2016 presidential elections. Although Katumbi intends to appeal the ruling, this development may serve to catalyse opposition unrest in the city the near-term.
This is the second time that Katumbi has faced criminal allegations in recent months. Significant unrest was triggered in Lubumbashi in mid-May when he was indicted on charges relating to the employment of mercenaries.