Moise Katumbi, Opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo and owner of one of Africa’s biggest football teams, TP Mazembe, has released a statement, saying members of his football team, who have just successfully defended their CAF title in South Africa, have been barred from returning to Congo.
They were due to fly out to their hometown of Lubumbashi Monday morning but their flight was pushed to 17:00GMT.
But the flight has now been cancelled, according to club president and opposition leader Moise Katumbi.
“President Joseph Kabila’s government has issued instructions to airlines that they shouldn’t fly the team or they risk having their licenses cancelled,” a fuming Katumbi told the BBC.
“Why should a team that has just won a continental cup be denied landing rights in their own country; just because the team belongs to me? This is not about Moise Katumbi. The victory is for the Congolese people. That’s why I have been saying Kabila is bad for human rights.”
This morning I found players and officials loitering around the airport without knowing when their next flight to DR Congo would be.
Some players I talked to complained of being tired as they had been at the airport since 05:00 GMT without knowing what time they will fly out”.
The opposition leader said he was now making arrangements to fly the team into a neighbouring country and drive the players into Lubumbashi.
Mr Katumbi and Mr Kabila have fallen out after the DR Congo leader refused to step down as president when his tenure expired last year.
His refusal to step down has also resulted in the country’s elections being postponed with indications the poll may be held next year.