Who is the President of the DR Congo

Power struggle in the Congo : Independent puppet

The fact that a marionette frees itself from its strings and becomes independent usually only occurs in cartoons. In the intricate world of the "Democratic Republic of the Congo", at least according to its name, such an unusual act of liberation is possible - as the provisional outcome of the power struggle between President Félix Tshisekedi and his previous puller, the former head of state Joseph Kabila shows.

Completely surprisingly, Tshisekedi's party triumphed on Friday night in the Congolese House of Representatives, where Kabila's alliance actually had a majority of 350 of the 500 seats. The people's representatives voted out parliamentary speaker Jeannine Mabunda - a coup that turns the political situation in the gigantic empire in the heart of Africa upside down.

Already in the run-up to the highly anticipated decision, MPs smashed the furniture in the meeting room in the dispute at the beginning of the week.

Chairs flew in parliament

How the 57-year-old Tshisekedi managed the prank will probably remain his secret. His opponents accuse him of buying votes for $ 7,000. But because Congo's MPs do not risk their future for such a sum, they must be convinced that the 23-year rule of the Kabila dynasty has come to an end.

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President Tshisekedi will now be able to form his own government for the first time, which does not mean that the Congo, which is rich in mineral resources, will now come to rest. It will take months, if not years, for a new, reasonably stable leadership to develop in this ruined state.

The history of the power struggle goes back to the 2018 elections, in which Kabila was no longer allowed to run because he had already ruled two terms. The son of the murdered rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila chose a colorless substitute candidate as his successor, who was so colorless that despite all the manipulation of the ballot box, he did not even get a quarter of the votes.

According to the projections of independent observers of the Catholic Church, Martin Fayulu won the election: This was so unacceptable for Kabila that his election result producers preferred to make Tshisekedi the winner.

Shortly before, Kabila and Tshisekedi had quickly reached an agreement to share power: The head of the “Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social” (UDPS) received the presidency, Kabila's “Front commun pour le Congo” (FCC) dominated the parliaments.

The president forges a new alliance

That went well for a while, until the president's powerlessness no longer seemed tolerable. Tshisekedi was not allowed to appoint the head of government or the cabinet, and the FCC also held the coveted post at the state mining company Gécamines.

When three seats became vacant in the powerful constitutional court, Tshisekedi seized the decision on how the constitution stipulates - for Kabila, however, this amounted to a declaration of war.

In November, Tshisekedi forged new alliances: he met with Jean-Pierre Bemba, the chief of the “Movement for the Liberation of the Congo”, who was largely acquitted in The Hague, and Moïse Katumbi, the extremely wealthy Kabila archenemy. He had offended both of them when he left the opposition alliance and offered himself to Kabila as a puppet. In the Congo, however, people don't take this offense for long - especially not when a new era promises new opportunities.

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