The PF regime has assured the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that Congolese opposition leader Moise Katumbi will never be allowed in Zambia again. But this is a lie just to hoodwink Joseph Kabila. Katumbi is a major financial of the PF and and has dirty business connections with the Rupiah Banda family so he will certainly be in and out of Zambia as he wishes. He has been having regular meetings with Henry Banda in Europe and South Africa.
Last week, the DRC wrote a protest letter to Zambia over the latter’s decision to host Katumbi and honour him with a high table during a soccer match in Lusaka. Katumbi was seen seated next to Edgar Lungu’s mouthpiece Amos Chanda.
“He (Katumbi) is pushing the Congolese population to an uprising that is likely to plunge the Democratic Republic of Congo into indescribable and unfounded chaos. He is subject to prosecution before the authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” the DRC explained to Zambia, then wondered why Zambia is playing host to him.
PF Foreign affairs minister Harry Kalaba then went into panic mode and took advantage of the SADC meeting in Swaziland to take photos with DRC government officials in order to portray the image that all is well.
But the Watchdog has been informed that Kalaba assured DRC Prime Minister Leonard Okhundu that ‘Katumbi was not an official visitor and we did not even know he was in the country as government.’
Kalaba further assured Okhundu that Katumbi will never be allowed in Zambia anymore.
The two met at Royal Swazi Hotel.
But after the meeting, and with DRC happy with Zambia’s assurance, Okhundu told reporters from Zambian government media that the DRC respects Zambia for the peace it has continued to enjoy over the years and has asked for support to resolve that country’s political impasse.
Harry Kalaba then said nothing , not even Katumbi, can come between the good relationship between Zambia and DRC.
Katumbi, a former governor of the mineral-rich Katanga province, was on March 8 spotted at Lusaka’s National Heroes Stadium watching the Under-20 Africa Cup semi-final match between Zambia and South Africa, which the hosts won 1-0.
In June 2016, a Congolese court sentenced the 52-year-old in absentia to 36 months imprisonment and a $6 million fine for selling a property that a Greek businessman claimed ownership of.
By then, Katumbi had already left the country, with an arrest warrant hanging over his head, for another charge of hiring mercenaries, which he denies.
Since then the wealthy businessman, who was set to challenge incumbent Joseph Kabila in last November’s deferred presidential election, has been abroad, reportedly seeking medical treatment.
Katumbi is no stranger to Zambia. Until 2001, he ran businesses and was a close ally of then-president Frederick Chiluba. But Chiluba’s successor Levy Mwanawasa launched an ambitious anti-corruption crusade and placed Katumbi on a ‘wanted’ list, accusing him of “plundering national resources” in league with Chiluba.
Zambia accused Katumbi of swindling it of $7 million for undelivered supplies.
In December 2007, Katumbi and a Zambian delegation met in the Togolese capital Lome, where they agreed to drop their claims. The Congolese businessman then returned to Zambia to collect his trunk of diamonds which the government had seized at the height of the manhunt.
Katumbi then started dealing with the Rupiah Banda family and was later introduced to Lungu.
The Congolese government must not take what the PF regime says on face value.
The Watchdog will next week explain what Katumbi actually wants from Lungu or what they have agreed.