Supporters of President Félix Tshisekedi in the Democratic Republic of Congo celebrated on Thursday night as parliament voted to oust pro-Kabila speaker, Jeanine Mabunda. It’s the latest round of a bitter dispute between President Felix Tshisekedi and supporters of Joseph Kabila.
A total of 484 lawmakers out of 500 were present. Some 281 voted in favor, while 200 voted against.
“We are happy because Jeannine Mabunda has been removed from the National Assembly, we are very happy about her removal. This spirit of Kabilism is finally disappearing, we only need Felix Tshiskedi”, José Ngalamulumbe, a Tshisekedi supporters said.
On the floor of parliament, the move to oust Jeanine Mabunda elicited mixed reactions.
“The departure of this office is the departure of Mr. Kabila, it’s the end of Kabila’s reign”, pro-Tshisekdi allied lawmaker said.
For Paulin Kashomba, a pro-Kabila Member of Parliament, “Everything we’ve done here has had a manufactured basis of cheating. In fact, we had to reject this whole parade we’re seeing here and we didn’t even have to vote.”
Kabila’s supporters in the Common Front of the Congo party accuse President Tshisekedi of breaching the constitution.
Earlier, the speaker had asked the assembly to reject the petition against her due to ‘’purely technical and non-political reasons.’’
The roots of the crisis date back to the handover of power between Kabila and Tshisekedi in January 2019.
It was the DR Congo’s first peaceful political transition since its independence from Belgium in 1960.
But Kabila, who is still only 49 after ruling for 18 years, retains huge clout through political allies and appointees in the military.