Katumba Mwanke was the “DON” of the Kabila cabinet! He was the mountain behind President Kabila that made decisions and determined policy on politics, foreign affairs, foreign and bilateral relations, and most importantly, all security issues and relationships. After the very contentious elections that left Kabila facing an uncertain future in forging a coalition government with opposition blocks with knives out for “le pouvoir”. Katumba Mwanke was the master manipulator who was in the process of forging the coalition to support Kabila to put together a government; now the most important implication of Katumba’s sudden death is that Kabila has lost his key mojo-man and any coalition government seems more remote now. This definitely implies a concerted period of instability within the Kinshasa political circle and while Kabila might be reeling from the impact of Katumba’s death, the knives might be out to get Kabila. There is a chance of a coup against Kabila now that Katumba’s gone but definitely there is no immediate successor to the position and power that Katumba held in the Presidency.
The Rise of Katumba and the Qualities that Made him the Don
Katumba Mwanke was a RABID Congolese Nationalist who believe that the International Community was complicit with certain regional actors (and neighboring countries) in actively fomenting the break-up and rape of Congo and its resources. He was perceived by many to be a racist, an active racist, against anyone remotely white or Western origin. He believed that ethnic Congolese tribes and peoples have the first right to everything Congolese and as such, was dead set against sharing Congo’s resources with businesses and international partners including and particularly, the neighboring countries. He was therefore highly unpopular with almost everyone and he relished repelling Ambassadors that he called “the vultures” that were hovering around the corpse of the Congo. He took over his unofficial position within the inner sanctum of President Kabila’s cabinet in 2007 afar the death under suspicious circumstances (poisoning?) of his predecessor, Samba Kaputu.
Kabila has to work hard to find someone to replace Mwanke in his function as internal mojo-man, the arch manipulator who will help Kabila forge a coalition of groups to form the next government. Without this, there is a likelihood of prolonged instability in Kinshasa that could be dangerous for Kabila and all of Congo.
Congo has lost a key personage who believed in DRC’s power to succeed as a nation. Katumba was staunchly fighting any concessions to Rwanda in the East and maintained a very strong line against the pressure from many quarters to let Rwanda get away with more in North and South Kivu. I wonder who will defend Congo against the rise of the Rwanda factor in the East?
Categories: Central Africa and DRC