Congo Siasa

Trouble in Kabila’s coalition?

The news of Floribert Chebeya’s presumed murder comes at a bad time for the president’s coalition. On May 25th, several of his main AMP coalition partners decided to create a new “courant renovateur” called the Liberal and Patriotic Center (CLP). It includes some heavyweights: the parties of Mbusa Nyamwisi, Olivier Kamitatu and Jose Endundo all signed up.

Their statement was bizarre. They claimed to be utterly loyal to President Kabila; they just didn’t like the way the government was being managed. In other words, this was an implicit snub towards Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito, was is in theory in charge of the government. Of course, what makes it somewhat bizarre is that everyone knows that Muzito is not really in charge of much – most important policy decisions are made by the president’s office.

The rest of the statement was a series of platitudes: the confirm their loyalty to Kabila, their desire to encourage dialogue within the AMP, and to build a strong Congo. The only slightly revealing part is: they want “a fair distribution of responsibilities amongst [the AMP’s] members.”

These are not the only murmurings of discontent. Just several weeks ago, a group of opposition MPs tried to impeach the prime minister, but backed down when it appeared they didn’t have enough support. Muzito has often been alleged to be involved in very large embezzlement schemes.

The president’s reaction to the creation of the CLP is said to have been harsh. According to RFI (whose correspondent Ghislaine du Pont has to report from Paris, as she’s been banned from the country for several years now), Kabila invited members of his AMP coalition to his Kingakati ranch last Saturday, where he proceeded to berate the CLP ministers, accusing them of attempting to oust him from power, saying that “if this were an army, you would be executed.” This version of events has not been confirmed by anyone else.