The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) highest court dismissed a lawsuit on Monday aimed at barring opposition figure Moise Katumbi from the presidential race, challenging claims that he lacks Congolese nationality. Katumbi, a prominent businessman with Italian heritage, presents a formidable challenge to incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi’s bid for a second term.
The suit was filed by fellow presidential contender Noel Tshiani, who contended that Katumbi’s citizenship status did not meet Congolese legal requirements, as dual nationality is not recognised. However, Katumbi’s legal representation argued that no evidence supported the claim that he held any nationality other than Congolese.
The Constitutional Court ultimately ruled in favour of Katumbi, deeming Tshiani’s case “without merit.” Tshiani, who also advocates for a bill stipulating that only individuals with both parents of Congolese origin can hold high political office, initiated the lawsuit.
Once an ally of Tshisekedi, Katumbi parted ways with the coalition earlier this year, leading to suspicions that the proposed legislation was specifically targeted at him. This development underscores the dynamic political landscape in the DRC as contenders vie for positions of influence in the upcoming elections.