Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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.


Her Sweet Anger said...

Interesting post, but somehow & sadly not surprising news... This underscores, yet again, the strongly personalized nature of political parties in the DRC that orbit around rich, influential big-men (rarely women, though Justine M'Poyo might be an exception but maybe for symbolical reasons and not financial ones...).
The weakness of these parties is blatant: the big-man's absence literally decapitates the party. No one can dare to make decisions or take over the full control without being held for a dissident -- and to a certain extent that is right: these personalized parties are based on loyalties to individuals (sometimes embodying values, ideals and agendas militants believe in, but most of the times facilitating militants' access to various resources) and NOT loyalties to ideas, objectives and common goals. Hence, from a logical perspective internal criticisms as well as a participative internal party structure are not compatible with its personalized essence, as they inherently challenge it. Another striking example in the DRC is certainly UDPS, where I would argue, we can even witness to what extent the longevity of a party is bound to a single man's lifespan (although, I must add UDPS has been an exception in regards to its capacity to truly embody an agenda reflective of the population's aspiration - in the 90's! ). Of course one only has to look a bit more to the DRC's Eastern neighbours to see that such patterns are not exclusive to the Congo. The numerous fallouts between former RPF members and the incumbent leadership are pertinent examples that were relevance long before some dissidents/excluded members opted for violence.
In the light of the upcoming elections this news of tensions within the MLC falls in line with my last blog post, where I argue that the vacuum left behind by the MLC will likely challenge the competitive nature of the elections. Would love to have your thoughts on that!

SunTura said...

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