Joseph Kabila anoints himself as Political Emperor of DR Congo, walking on the steps of our African Kings

By Chris Zumani Zimba

Kabila DRCDespite leaving office by handing over state power to DR Congo new president, Felix Tshisekedi last month, former president, Joseph Kabila is still standing politically tall and powerful in his country and can be said to be the living emperor, but not Patrice Lumumba among his citizens.

According to BBC Africa, the former president of the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila has made all the leaders of his political coalition pledge their allegiance to him. Joseph Kabila called the 18 leaders who make up his FCC coalition to his farm outside the Congolese capital, Kinshasa. One by one they sat before Mr Kabila and signed a document in which they reaffirmed their loyalty to him.

The coalition was created ahead of the election and won most parliamentary seats. Nearly a month ago he officially handed over power to Felix Tshisekedi, who won the disputed presidential election. The party leaders have now agreed to turn the coalition into a government. This raises questions about how much power the new president, Felix Tshisekedi, actually wields.

While many believe this is also further evidence that the former DR Congo president is determined to keep a firm grip on power despite stepping down after the controversial, disputed election, they fail to appreciate and contextualize the theory of “Multiple Democracies” especially for Africa. Therefore, Kabila’s political move and post power leadership gestures point to one thing; “Africanization of Western Democracy” as his conduct now reflects the pertinent norms and practices of African traditional leaders-kings and chiefs who perpetuate power to themselves once enthroned. In this way, Joseph Kabila is right to anoint himself as the political emperor of DR Congo by making his electoral coalition leaders to physically sign and reaffirm allegiance to him as their political mentor and not anyone else.It is purely a traditional African approach to leadership, not Western of course.


Chris Zumani Zimba is a prolific Political Scientist, Analyst, Author, Blogger, PhD Scholar, Researcher and Consultant. Besides being the CEO and Managing Consultant at Chrizzima Democracy University (CDU) in Zambia, he analyses African politics weekly on Voice of the Cape Radio, South Africa every Wednesday at 16:20hours CAT. So far, he has authored more than 10 political and academic books as well as published over 100 well researched articles. Sometimes, he lectures Political Science-Part Time with University of Zambia (UNZA) and University of Lusaka (UNILUS) outside his usual commitments.


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