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Exiled Congolese Opposition Leader, Katumbi Vows to Return to DR Congo by June

Opposition leader Moise Katumbi on Monday announced that he would return to the Democratic Republic of Congo by June.

Katumbi said he had intentions to run for presidency in the country’s election which is scheduled to be conducted before the end of 2018.

“I’m not scared of returning to Congo,” he told journalists at a press briefing in Johannesburg.

“I will be there to present my candidacy,” he said without giving further details.

The former Governor of Katanga Province has been in a self-imposed exile since May 2016, after he was convicted and later sentenced in absentia to 36 months in prison and fined $6 million in a property appropriation case which he described as political distractions.

He flew to South Africa and later to Europe to seek treatment after he inhaled tear gas fumes fired by police when he appeared before a Lubumbashi prosecutor with his supporters to answer to charges of hiring mercenaries to overthrow the government.

The DR Congo failed to conduct its presidential election in November 2016 as scheduled, with the electoral authority citing logistical challenges.

The failure to conduct the poll meant President Joseph Kabila stayed on in power, an aspect that caused chaos in many parts of the country.

Before fleeing his country, Katumbi was considered the front-runner in the race to succeed Kabila as president.

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