Troubles within the MLC

A meeting took place on Sunday at the residence of Francois Mwamba, the secretary-general of the MLC, in Kinshasa. A group of MPs from the MLC submitted a memorandum to Mwamba complaining obliquely about the lack of leadership in the party since Jean-Pierre Bemba’s departure. Jean-Pierre Bemba is still officially the leader of the party, even though he has been locked up in prison in The Hague for three years, and is in theory still the MLC candidate for the presidency.

According to some officials in the party, Mwamba is taking advantage of this internal dissidence to push Bemba out of the party and take over. Others, however, feel that Mwamba, who had long taken a more moderate stance towards Kabila than Bemba, would lose any overt battle with Bemba. Yesterday, Adan Bombole, the head of the MLC Kinshasa federation, managed to calm down party militants demanding Mwamba’s departure.

Many in the MLC expect Mwamba to leave soon and create his own party. This would leave Thomas Luhaka, who does not appear to have any presidential ambitions of his own, as the head of the MLC in the Congo. In any case, Jean-Pierre Bemba will soon face the fact that if he does not register to vote he will be ineligible as a presidential candidate. That turning point will probably come around June or at the latest in July.