DRC opposition leaders inspired by Zimbabwe peaceful elections

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Zimbabwe’s relatively peaceful elections have inspired some opposition leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Presidential hopeful Moise Katumbi will return to his home country to contest the December polls.

Since attaining independence from Belgium in 1960, the DRC hasn’t had a peaceful transfer of power.

Business mogul Katumbi is returning home from exile with a grand plan. He is ready take part in the long-delayed presidential elections.

According to a recent poll, the former governor of Congo’s copper-rich Katanga province would be the likeliest candidate to replace President Joseph Kabila.

The question is whether he will be allowed to compete in the up and coming elections.

In 2016, Katumbi was convicted in absentia for illegally selling a property.

Two other investigations remain open.

He has denied all allegations saying they are politically motivated.

The flamboyant presidential hopeful has appealed to the SADC Chairperson President Cyril Ramaphosa to encourage President Kabila to leave peacefully.

Kabila’s presidential term was expected to end in November 2016, but the election has since been postponed twice.

The electoral commission cited financial and logistical constraints for the postponements.

Opposition leaders have long accused Kabila, head of state since 2001, of delaying the vote in order to retain power and change the constitution.

Another Congolese leader is also expected back home this Friday to contest the December polls.

The former warlord and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, also considers himself the strongest candidate to face off against Kabila.

Bemba was vice-president for three years under Kabila prior to his arrest and has a large following in western Congo. He was acquitted in May on appeal for war crimes at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

The surge of violent conflicts in eastern and central Congo has forced millions to flee to neighbouring countries.

According to UN aid agencies, more than 5 million people have been driven from their homes.

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