The younger brother of DR Congo’s powerful ex-president Joseph Kabila was sacked Thursday as governor of an eastern province, in a move that sparked an angry response from Kabila loyalists.
Zoe Kabila was stripped of his job as governor of Tanganyika in a vote by the province’s assembly, officials said.
“The 13 deputies who took part in the plenary session voted for Governor Zoe Kabila to be removed from office,” the assembly’s rapporteur, Cyrille Kimpu, told AFP.
The move marks a further retrenchment for supporters of Kabila, who ruled the Democratic Republic of Congo for 18 years.
He left office in January 2019 after paving the way to elections that enabled the DRC’s first peaceful handover of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960.
But Kabila’s long years in power enabled him to build a web of support in politics, business and the military, casting a shadow over his successor Felix Tshisekedi.
In a tussle with the Kabila camp, Tshisekedi this year won over a majority of MPs in the National Assembly in Kinshasa, enabling him to end a coalition government with the pro-Kabila FCC and appoint his own prime minister.
Tshisekedi also wields a majority in the Senate and provincial assemblies. The younger Kabila was the last of the 26 governors in the vast DRC not to have declared support for him.
The FCC — the Common Front for Congo (FCC) — reacted furiously to his sacking, saying democratic procedures had been flouted.
“The vote took place in Mr. Zoe Kabila’s absence,” said FCC lawmaker Dominique Bota, who said the younger Kabila had been busy on government business in Kinshasa.
Twelve FCC deputies in Tanganyika had also been prevented by the security forces from entering the hall to vote, Bota charged.
The motion against Kabila, signed by 13 pro-Tshisekedi provincial deputies, accused him of “poor governance, lack of respect for the institution of the Provincial Assembly and for the national authorities.”
Marie-Ange Mushobekwa, an FCC MP, said on Twitter that the younger Kabila was “someone who works for the good of the Nation and whose positive acts are appreciated by his public.”
‘You want to fire him and retain flatterers who achieve nothing,” she said.