DRC: Salomon Kalonda adviser to Moise Katumbi “brutally” arrested in Kinshasa

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A white pick-up, agents in civilian clothes and others in fatigues burst into view a few metres from the Ndjili airport tower. Salomon Idi Kalonda was brutally taken away. Witnesses, including Moïse Katumbi, were stunned. The quickest only had time to film a few snatches of video that made the rounds of the Congolese web. The former governor’s powerful and influential special adviser was taken to a hitherto unknown destination.

“The arbitrary and illegal arrest of my special adviser Salomon Kalonda at Ndjili airport is a heinous abduction”, denounced Moïse Katumbi, who saw in this act the “end of the rule of law”, since it had “no legal basis”, he complained, before questioning the accusation levelled at this man of the shadows. “Where was he taken? The authorities must explain themselves and release him”, added Moise Katumbi.

Posting one of the videos, Augustin Matata also expressed surprise at the treatment meted out to Salomon Idi Kalonda: “This is how the immediate collaborator of a political opponent and presidential candidate is treated in the DRC”.

He added: “This is the image of the rule of law in Kinshasa. What day would a Congolese agree to work for a politician in the country? Democracy is dead.

Delly Sesanga, for his part, does not beat about the bush. For him, this is a case of kidnapping with a clear objective. “The kidnapping of political actors to silence them is a reprehensible practice typical of dictatorships”. In his message, he also recalled the “kidnapping” of his colleague Lens Omelonga, “who has been held for more than 30 days at the ANR”.

The Ensemble pour la République party has announced that it will issue a statement “in the coming hours”.

The authorities have not yet commented on this case, which comes 17 days before another opposition demonstration. Martin Fayulu, Moise Katumbi, Delly Sesanga and Augustin Matata have all taken action against the government in recent days. They are “uniting their ideas and forces to take joint action to ensure that the elections are held within the constitutional deadline”.

Gathering other opponents around them, they are calling on the population “to resist and to exercise citizen vigilance”. The four candidates pledged to remain united in their ideas and actions in order to “bring to a successful conclusion the struggle of the Congolese people for the rule of law”. They are also appealing to civil society and announcing a series of actions to “bring their demands to fruition”. Their first “large-scale” activity was the march on 20 May, aimed at denouncing “growing insecurity, the high cost of living and the misery of the people, and the chaotic electoral process”.

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