Joseph Kabila to serve as Senator for life in the Congolese Senate

Joseph Kabila to serve as Senator for life in the Congolese Senate

The Constitution of the DRC gives the title of Senator for life to each former elected President. But since the establishment of the new Congolese Senate last year, Kabila never served in the hemicycle. Some of his allies even announced his political return to regain power in the 2023 presidential elections. Yet, to everyone’s surprise, Joseph Kabila entered the Upper House as a Senator for life.

Joseph Kabila stepped down from power on the 24th of January 2019. Since then, he has kept a low profile while manipulating the political game in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has the parliamentary majority and the largest number of provincial governors and ministers in the Government of the Republic.

At his private farm in Kingakati, located on the outskirts of Kinshasa, he grants hearings, gives instructions to his lieutenants (deputies, ministers, etc.), has fun on his motorcycle, but makes no public statements. He hardly ever speaks to the media. However, he takes selfies and posts on social media on a rather regular basis.

Kabila is eventually serving in the Senate

On Tuesday, the 15th of September, when Parliament resumed in the DRC, the former Congolese President appeared in the Upper House of the Parliament.  He walked towards the plenary hall, with the President of the Senate and the President of the National Assembly, both from his political platform, the Common Front for Congo (FCC), at his side.

Kabila in the Senate is more than an event, and the picture went around the world. Rivers of comments on social networks. On his red, yellow and blue scarf, the colour of the Congolese flag, was the word “Senator”. Enough to muffle those who think that “he is the true president who leads the DRC through a puppet called Tshisekedi”. The now Senator for life sat down like everyone else, the only downside being that he did not wear a protective mask against Covid-19. This rekindled the fury of his critics on the Internet.

In any event, Kabila’s gesture is a strong one and the image will remain engraved in the pages of history of the Democratic Republic of Congo: a former head of state accepting to remain a simple parliamentarian! Elsewhere, many choose exile. 

About the reactions…

Observers believe that seeing the former Congolese head of state sitting in the Senate is a good sign and that it strengthens the Congolese democracy. This is the first time in the DRC that there is a President-in-office and a living former president assuming his constitutional prerogatives, however modest they may be.

The supporters of the President-in-office, Felix Tshisekedi, are pleased about this, and believe that Joseph Kabila finally agreeing to sit in the Senate is putting an end to the speculations of his political platform, the FCC, which stated he wanted to return to power as president in 2023.

Other analysts remain rather cautious due to Kabila’s unpredictable nature. He can still surprise us.  The man is so accustomed to blowing hot and cold that not even those close to him can claim to be in control of his agenda. We know that he is the one who prompts his supporters to put obstacles in the way of the new President Felix Tshisekedi.

 The Constitution of the DRC gives the title of Senator for life to each former elected President. But since the establishment of the new Congolese Senate last year, Kabila never served in the hemicycle. Some of his allies even announced his political return to regain power in the 2023 presidential elections. Yet, to everyone’s surprise, Joseph Kabila entered the Upper House as a Senator for life.

Joseph Kabila stepped down from power on the 24th of January 2019. Since then, he has kept a low profile while manipulating the political game in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has the parliamentary majority and the largest number of provincial governors and ministers in the Government of the Republic.

At his private farm in Kingakati, located on the outskirts of Kinshasa, he grants hearings, gives instructions to his lieutenants (deputies, ministers, etc.), has fun on his motorcycle, but makes no public statements. He hardly ever speaks to the media, but posts on social media on a regular basis.

Kabila is eventually serving in the Senate

On Tuesday, the 15th of September, when Parliament resumed in the DRC, the former Congolese President appeared in the Upper House of the Parliament.  He walked towards the plenary hall, with the President of the Senate and the President of the National Assembly, both from his political platform, the Common Front for Congo (FCC), at his side.

Kabila in the Senate is more than an event, and the picture went around the world. Rivers of comments on social networks. On his red, yellow and blue scarf, the colour of the Congolese flag, was the word “Senator”. Enough to muffle those who think that “he is the true president who leads the DRC through a puppet called Tshisekedi”. The now Senator for life sat down like everyone else, the only downside being that he did not wear a protective mask against Covid-19. This rekindled the fury of his critics on the Internet.

In any event, Kabila’s gesture is a strong one and the image will remain engraved in the pages of history of the Democratic Republic of Congo: a former head of state accepting to remain a simple parliamentarian! Elsewhere, many choose exile.

About the reactions…

Observers believe that seeing the former Congolese head of state sitting in the Senate is a good sign and that it strengthens the Congolese democracy. This is the first time in the DRC that there is a President-in-office and a living former president assuming his constitutional prerogatives, however modest they may be.

The supporters of the President-in-office, Felix Tshisekedi, are pleased about this and believe that Joseph Kabila finally agreeing to sit in the Senate is putting an end to the speculations of his political platform, the FCC, which stated he wanted to return to power as president in 2023.

Other analysts remain rather cautious due to Kabila’s unpredictable nature. He can still surprise us.  The man is so accustomed to blowing hot and cold that not even those close to him can claim to be in control of his agenda. We know that he is the one who prompts his supporters to put obstacles in the way of the new President Felix Tshisekedi.

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