Letter to President Kabila Concerning Mr. Daryl Lewis

Mr. President, 

I am sending you this letter as the Supreme Magistrate of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the first guarantor of fair application of justice. 

I have learned that the Supreme Court judges wish to interview an American citizen named Daryl Lewis, a security consultant.  Their request to meet with Mr. Lewis is related to a criminal case, now before them, in which former Governor Moïse Katumbi is alleged to have brought “mercenaries” into the DRC for the purpose of destabilizing the government.  These alleged acts apparently took place during 2017.

I have also learned that Mr. Lewis is very willing to meet with the Supreme Court judges. However, he was refused a visa by the DRC Embassy in Washington DC. In view of the fact that Mr. Lewis is not being allowed to travel to Kinshasa, please let me explain the facts of Mr. Lewis’s visit in 2017.

After he declared his intention to be a candidate for the presidency of the DRC, Governor Katumbi faced significant hostility from political persons connected to the majority party in power. In view of this serious hostility, Mr. Katumbi invited Mr. Daryl Lewis, and several associates, to visit him in Lubumbashi to give him advice about his personal security.

When DRC security services discovered the presence of the team of security consultants led by Mr. Daryl Lewis, they incorrectly accused Mr. Katumbi of hiring “mercenaries” for the purpose of destabilizing the DRC regime. On the basis of these allegations that were totally without foundation, Mr. Katumbi was subject to criminal charges, and the American security consultants were expelled from the DRC. 

In Mr. Lewis’ absence, I want to personally assure you, Mr. President that his presence in the DRC was solely to advise Mr. Katumbi about his personal security, and that constituted absolutely no threat to the security of your Government. In this specific instance, Mr. Katumbi had absolutely no conversations with the consultants which could have constituted even the slightest threat to the security of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It is clear from the fact that Mr. Lewis has been denied a visa that your Government does not want Mr. Lewis to be interviewed by the Supreme Court.

In addition, following the report of the bishops on this case mentioned above – an opinion which showed that this case was politically motivated for the sole purpose of disqualifying Mr. Katumbi as a presidential candidate – I am obliged to ask you personally to instruct the Supreme Court Magistrates to put an end to what appears to the entire world as a judicial instrumentation.

Much as I have addressed the judges of the International Criminal Court for the case concerning the senator Jean-Pierre Bemba, I am addressing you personally in the cases of Daryl Lewis, who was never a mercenary and never will be, and in the case of Katumbi, for whom I will be grateful for you to put an end to the politically motivated string of lawsuits against him.

In light of all the above reasons, it appears that Mr. Katumbi is a free Congolese Citizen who must be allowed to return to his country and run for the presidency of the Democratic Republic of Congo as authorized by the Constitution.

Sincerely yours,

Herman J. Cohen, US Ambassador (ret.)