Visiting Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Moses Katumbi has charged that his President Joseph Kabila is a heartless murderer who is the face of instability to Congo’s neighbouring countries.
Katumbi who is also former Katanga Province governor and wealthy owner of TP Mazembe Football club was speaking in an interview with CNN journalists Christiane Amanpour via satellite from Diamond TV studios in Lusaka on Tuesday.
Below is the verbatim of the interview:
Amanpour: Mr Katumbi you just saw a report on our channel about children mining cobalt actually in the province where you used to be governor. What happened when you found child laborers like that when you were governor?
Katumbi: I saw your report, really it’s a pity. When I was elected as governor, I found this issue of child labour in the mining sector which I abolished. That’s why I stopped the exports of processed raw material which was going in different countries, and because that time I was very strict I didn’t want to send our children to die in the mining sector. I saw your report it is really very sad.
Amanpour: Mr Katumbi, they are today hundreds of thousands of children from your country who are employed like that in mines, in other industries , children who are hungry, who are poor and of course the Democratic Republic of Congo has trillions and trillions of dollars and minerals, what is going to stop the country from allowing these kids to be exploited like that?
Katumbi: You know all this is because of bad governance in our country because the government is absent. President Kabila is not doing anything for the country. If you can see those children, they have no future that’s why we are looking to have real elections and inclusive elections where they are going to respect the agreement. we can’t allow these children, they are dying of hunger because people are stealing money from the government and the government is absent. And if you can see I saw your report, the soldiers have been diverted, than to go to the East for peace keeping than to go and protect the minerals . there is requisition on the soldier by the government and Kabila’s family. We cant allow this, that’s why we need help from the international community so that this thing can stop. There is instability today because of Kabila, If Kabila goes, the Congo will be stable. Almost 5.6 million people today are internally displaced.
Amanpour: Mr Katumbi, these minerals have fueled Congo’s civil war, What happens if there is still no election, if Mr Kabila does not hold an election what happens if you don’t go back and contest the election?
Katumbi: This is why we are looking for this election because if there is no election, Congo is going to continue with instability and there will be a civil war. Today it’s 5 million displaced internally, they are killing a lot of people, millions of people are dying in the east, in the central, it is all over the country. That is why we need to have these elections so that there is peace in the Congo. If kabila remains, he is going to keep all these malicious groups, stealing all the minerals, using children in mining sector. When I was governor, I abolished these things. Child labour is like child soldiers. So all we need is stability, kabila that’s why he does not want to organize the election. If he does not organize the election, really, it is instability for all the nine neighboring countries which is really sad for our country.
Amanpour: You mentioned that democratic republic of Congo is right in the middle of these countries that could also be destabilized, but how are you going to go back? You have been told that you are a dual national and therefore you are not going to be recognized you have been sentenced in absentia for a real estate deal. They are going everything they can to make it difficult for you to contest the election.
Katumbi: Kabila knows I was a good governor and a good candidate that is why he is creating all these stories. There was an agreement which was on 31 December which the Bishop went to investigate about all these fake allegations, they came up with a report which says it is bogus, so he is creating this issue about the nationality. I think the agreement is there. that’s why I am going to go back, I am in the region. I was in Rwanda, today I am in Zambia, I have seen the progress in democracy in Zambia, the investment under President [Edgar] Lungu. I have seen even their progress going on even in the neighboring country Rwanda even in Angola so we also need peace even free and fair election. at least Congo is going to be the center of progress in central Africa. I will go back because I didn’t do anything bad.
Amanpour: Will you go back and are you afraid for your safety?
Katumbi: I am not afraid we are having somebody who can kill people even in the church. this is really what Kabila wants, he has killed seven people in the church because they went to pray for elections, they went with their rosary that’s the type of president we are having. Some people are making a mistake, they say Kabila is stability, Kabila is instability. Kabila is the real face of instability. I am not scared to go back to my country, I will go and change the face of my country. At least the people of congo can have a smile one day
Amanpour: You are very optimistic obviously in a very dangerous situation but I want to read for our viewers some of the achievements while you were governor, not only did you close down mines were you found children were labourers, you also increased the local tax base to about 3 billion, you took on corruption, you added to schools, you used that revenue to add to primary and secondary schools you tripled the number of girls in schools. There is a lot of things you did in your province as governor, do you think it’s possible to extend that to the rest of the country without resistant to the kind of law and order that you are talking about?
Katumbi: These things are possible, that’s why President Kabila does not want me to go back because I want to do what I did in Katanga. The people of Congo are waiting for me. If I was a bad governor if I didn’t improve the schools, water and electricity, about health, they wouldn’t want me. We did a wonderful job with my team and the people of Congo increasing even the tax that’s why president Kabila does not want me to go back because he knows I was a good governor. The world bank sent me a congratulations letter when I was a governor even all over the country.
Amanpour: What message do you have for the United States as it looks around Africa to see countries like yours which are full of economic potential what message do you have for the US and for the Western World?
Katumbi: I just want to congratulate because they are doing everything even the security council for US ambassador Nick came to Congo because he wants Congo to have a free and fair election, an inclusive election. What I am asking is for them to push, Kabila is lying to them. he is not going to organize an election, he wants to organize election were he can choose the candidate. He is lying that he is bringing back electronic machine for voting, people can’t vote for Kabila, he wants the electronic machines to vote for him. That is why I am asking the US government, these people are suffering, millions are dying. what we need as Congolese is free and fair election and inclusive election. It is just the application of the agreement, this agreement is just on one side to leave Kabila in power and he is refusing the other side. Kabila at the moment is an illegal President that’s why we need this application not just to be a piece of paper but to be a real agreement that every candidate to participate in the election can follow. And we also need to cancel these voting machines which they are saying no this is a sovereign country, sovereign country because you want to do the fraud.
Amanpour: Moise Katumbi, thank you very much and of course in the only creditable poll that was done in Congo recently you did come out ahead so we will see if that election takes place. Thank you for joining us.