Kabila-Kabarebe Political Family: 18 Years of Power Struggle, Breakup & Bloodshed

Kabila-Kabila-Dia Wamba

One day ahead, Congolese recall the eruption of a new rebellion that waged on 02/08/1998, the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) and its branches. It is an occasion to mourn or celebrate depending on what had mostly kept your attention on that ‘dark’ day. The date reminds a breakup of the political family that was few months earlier formed between Kabila and Kabarebe, splitting into pieces targeting the control of power/resources while exposing human lives. It is a time also to remind how this breakup has led to blood shedding of innocent people who never have to do with politics; and calling for non-selective justice. The date brings back the unimaginable slaughtering of civilians and military servicemen and women who fought to get rid of Mobutu’s regime; expecting to lead this country to a better direction.

The blogger keeps reminding how people were burnt on tyres; others being dragged into asphalted roads of main cities of Congo by driven vehicles (with people on the wheels). The date has to be an opportunity to learn on the past while initiating mechanisms of controlling political and public speeches as these have set on fire and worsened the fragile socio-cultural environment. The blogger reminds also innocent civilians being slaughtered within their villages in Kivu, in the name of rectifying and bringing democracy and governance. Surprisingly, as some are mourning, there might be those commemorating the date for having initiated a democratic process; through rectification struggle. The unanswered question remains how did a dictatorship goes formed within a period of few months? Who are responsible of that mistakes that led to power monopolization during such short period? The blogger considers that pointing a finger to both struggling parties is unlikely debatable.

Though the political family got formed in 1996, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) socio-political and economic crises are undoubtedly old than the family. These crises had existed since the colonial era to the establishment of Mobutu’s dictatorship regime. However, recent crises that emerged from the political family power struggle are well-known for having largely devastated the Eastern DRC due its socio-cultural specificities and generally affecting the whole country. For the last two decades, observers have witnessed the hardline of the crises and the way the political family has exploited them for their personal interests related to power struggle and military forces exhibition.


For a clear understanding of the political family struggle, the reader reminds that it got established on the eve of the 1996 insurgency aiming at rehabilitating Banyamulenge’s rights as we were firstly told. In addition, as the insurgency expanded, it met the common feeling of Zairians who were fed up with the Mobutu’s regime and willing to see the change; a source of huge support. Though the Banyamulenge claims were largely agreed as well-founded, the intended objective was driven behind by a mysterious and hidden agenda. The agenda remained concealed, but recently, motivations behind the agenda became obvious as victims of its daily consequences in Eastern part of DRC for the two decades went countless. The agenda had formed an alliance around persons who ever had, in the past, something in common; that is, Laurent Desire Kabila and James Kabarebe. The agenda might have relied on the principle that both parties have to end up winning, accumulating indefinitely wealth. For the sake of the agenda to get realized, the family initiated exclusion and elimination of key partners and individuals allegedly suspected of constituting a hamper.

The agenda drove, within a short period of 7 months, those two personalities to the Statehouse of a potential rich country, allowing them to appoint themselves to two strategic positions; despite reluctances all around. The agenda or agreements between the two persons remained a mystery as well as the raisons behind their disagreements in 1998. This is how the Eastern Congo especially and the whole country in general fell into a power struggle and military force shows using proxies and recurring rebel movements as well. The power struggle exhibiting military power led to endless agreements and disagreements, whose contents were sometimes unknown to the public. One among the series of these agreements/disagreements is the demise of Laurent Nkunda ousted by Bosco Ntaganda with an initiation of military joint operations between DRC national army (FARDC) and Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) in 2009.

As housing can mislead, the 2009 agreement that was a shaky wind within the ruling political party in Kinshasa (PPRD) never lasted for non-explicit reasons. The hunting down and arrest of Bosco Ntaganda seemed also as a response to the growing discontents of local population expressing the absence of the state into their daily life. The arrest of a former ally who strongly supported the incumbent president, might have resulted from a pressure that rose alongside of the 2011 controversial elections. Thus, as rulers wouldn’t be able to present their achievements in front of sliding support, calling for a large support from the population could only rely on defending the state against an aggression. That is simply scarifying human lives, especially in Eastern part. The Ntaganda arrest turns into the cycle of creating another rebel group, M23 (Mouvement du 23 mars).

It can largely be stated that the generalized discontents express claims towards political leaders who endlessly get rich to the detriment of its population perishing by hunger, poverty and violence. Rather than solving the real problem, rulers resort on creating chaos so that in end, they become saviors. It seems crucial that political leaders, but mostly rulers need to establish mechanisms of solving deeply socio-cultural and economic grievances from which manipulators can exploit for their own interests. As many observers would question rulers’ willingness as limited or non-existent, it is up to you and me to request, in a non-violent manner that these mechanisms have to be established.

As we mourn or celebrate the 2/8/1998, the blogger calls on keeping indiscriminately leaders accountable of their wrong-doings but also rehabilitating victims of these manmade atrocities. Moreover, there is a need of sustaining the political process by establishing an appropriate administrative and political system covering DRC diversities. Quite clear, the blogger believes that federalism remains the appropriate way to manage socio-cultural differences across provinces and regions; while keeping the country unified as well as providing easily social services. Furthermore, rulers need to stop creating chaos for covering their own weaknesses; that is, they must stop accumulating illegally wealth but rather redistributing equitably national resources. Your viewpoint keeps the blogger improving.

Ntanyoma R. Delphin

Twitter account @delphino12

Email: rkmbz1973@gmail.com

Blog: www.edrcrdf.wordpress.com

About admin 393 Articles
PhD fellow @ErasmusUnivRotterdam/ISS: Microeconomic Analysis of Conflict. Congolese, blogger advocating 4r Equitable Redistribution of Ressources & national wealth as well as & #Justice4All #DRC In the top of that, proud of being "villageois"


  1. I suggest also, that, Fedelarism as one of solution of perturbation of congoleze .
    but my fear is that the East of DRC can not get Peace as well is in Federalism, because Rwanda can also manipulate some people to creat the unsens war.

  2. Thanks Mzee for your comment. Though I couldn’t capture clearly a “solution of perturbation of Congolese” means, I do suggest federalism for few reasons. It helps managing diversities across provinces; hence, manipulation can be avoided as Eastern DRC will establish the way on managing its specific characteristics as compared to north or west. In addition, Federalism can easy the provision of public services as provinces are sovereign in their own domain of action. The largeness of the country, the corrupted and long chain of admnistration makes things difficult and that’s where any one willing to manipulate, such Rwanda can benefit the absence of the state and do it falls in its interest.
    Do you have any further comment or observation, dn’t hesitate to point it out
    Thanks again

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