A key political figure in the Democratic Republic of Congo is facing trial over charges of committing acts of treason.
Salomon Idi Kalonda, a key aide to presidential contender Moise Katumbi, was arrested on May 30 at Kinshasa’s Nd’jili airport as he prepared to board the flight to Lubumbashi. He was detained at the premises of military intelligence and then incarcerated at the Ndolo military prison.
On Thursday, he was at the Kinshasa-Gombe Military Court. The prosecuting magistrate charged Mr. Kalonda with treason, undermining national defense and inciting soldiers to commit acts contrary to discipline.
The court clerk, reading the charge list, said Idi Kalonda, 49, had been “in contact with a foreign power with the aim of fomenting hostility or acts of aggression against the republic.”
Specifically, Kalonda is accused of having secret dealings with Rwanda that has been accused of supporting the M23 Rebels causing mayhem in eastern DRC. His accusers have said he is colluding with foreign powers to overthrow President Tshisekedi.
The first two charges-treason and undermining national defense, are supported by conversations on WhatsApp messaging. However, the public prosecutor’s office did not uphold the illegal carrying of arms charge, for which Salomon Kalonda was arrested by the intelligence services on the tarmac of Kinshasa’s Nd’jili airport.
His lawyer, Hervé Diakiese has dismissed the charges as “false.
“It was a pretext aimed at neutralizing Salomon Idi Kalonda Della and taking advantage of his illegal detention to set up a procedure whose inaccuracy and, above all, unfoundedness in law we will demonstrate. All these facts are accusations that we will demonstrate to be false. Salomon Kalonda has no business before any judicial body in this country. He is innocent.”
His political party, Ensemble pour la République has denounced the trial as “a cabal and crude schemes by the regime to discredit Moïse Katumbi”, who has declared his candidature for the December 20, 2023, Presidential election.
The next hearing comes up on 18 September.