Joseph Kabila and Moïse Katumbi shake hands

The Katangese Unity and Reconciliation Forum has just closed its doors this Sunday, May 22, in Lubumbashi. The ceremony took place during a Mass said by Monsignor Fulgence Muteba, Archbishop of Lubumbashi. On this occasion, hundreds of personalities took part in a handshake between Joseph Kabila and Moïse Katumbi. It should be remembered that these two politicians have just gone through a long period of high tension after their political views.

At 10 o’clock in the morning, the area around St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral is packed with people. No one wants to miss the reconciliation ceremony. An hour later is the beginning of the fair.

In the cathedral sits Moses Katumbi, dressed in a white shirt, to the right of the altar. To the left, Joseph Kabila, former head of state, alone occupies a seat reserved for him. The mass lasts more than two hours. Then comes the long-awaited moment.

The Archbishop of Lubumbashi announces that the two Katangese leaders have decided to make a gesture of reconciliation. Moise Katumbi then advances towards Joseph Kabila. All smiling, the two men shake hands to applause.

Another strong moment is the rite of atonement. The two politicians washed their hands in a pool of water, a symbol that marks a new beginning. This ceremony took place at the end of the Mass in the cathedral courtyard, in the presence of all religious leaders and the curious.

Finally, everyone shared a meal, where Joseph Kabila spoke to the young people and invited them to follow the recommendations of the forum, because, he said, today’s ceremony is more about Katanga’s unity. Forum participants also recommended the release of Katangans arrested for their political views.

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