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Congo’s Imposter President and the Moral Depravity of the West

Photo by U.S. Department of State | CC BY 2.0

On June 28th, 2018, the Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said in a letter to the African Union (AU) that it was preparing new protests and described a total crisis of confidence in the electoral process.

President Joseph Kabila has remained in office beyond his constitutionally mandated two term limit in December 2016, and his security forces have used repression to stay in power.

Yaa Lengi M. Ngemi is a Congolese dissident who has written an important book entitled “Joseph Kabila, Identity Thief, Imposter and Rwandan Trojan Horse in Congo” (self-published, 2017) that sheds light into the horror show that is modern Congo.

Mr. Ngemi provides considerable evidence to show that Joseph Kabila’s real name is actually Hyppolite Kanambe and thathe is not Congolese but a quisling of Rwandan origin.

Mr. Kanambe claims to be the son of Laurent Kabila, Congo’s head of state from 1997-2001, who fought alongside Ché Guevara in the 1960s as a leader of the Simba rebellion against the dictator Joseph Mobutu.

Kabila’s actual father, Adrien Christophe Kanambe, however, was a Rwandan Tutsi exiled in Tanzania after the Hutu revolution, who was killed by Laurent Kabila after he had been accused of disloyalty to his cause.

Hyppolite was then adopted by Kabila who married his widowed mother but could not actually take care of him because he had too many other wives and kids.

Kanambe thus never received much formal education and made a living as a taxi driver and bartender.

He was at a certain point taken under the wing of his uncle, Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) James Kabarebe and was then installed in power by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame after presiding over the massacre of Hutu in the late 1990s.

The Congolese army under his command integrated thousands of Rwandan and Ugandan Tutsi who committed legions of atrocities against Mai Mai fighters and others seeking the liberation of North Kivu, which Rwanda has aimed to annex.

Kanambe’s security forces also detained and tortured trade union organizers and murdered human rights activists like Floribert Chebeya, the president of the NGO Voice for the Voiceless, priests such as Cardinal Frederic Etsou, the Pope’s representative in the Congo, and members of Laurent Kabila’s family who threatened to expose his dark secret.

They included Laurent’s outspoken younger sister Esperance who was shot to death by her bodyguard who never did any prison time.

According to Ngemi, at least forty five assassinations were carried out by Dr. Jean Pierre Tumba-Longo, who used specialized poisons to kill victims like General Mbuza Mabe, who had kicked Rwandan troops out of Kivu and threatened to pursue them back into Rwanda.

Kanambe came to power after the murder of Laurent Kabila in 2001. He had been installed by Rwanda, Uganda and the U.S. and UK following the overthrow of Joseph Mobutu in 1997.

Mr. Kabila, however, proved to be too independent for his outside patrons.

In line with his Guevarist heritage, he rejected Bechtel’s plans for the newly liberated country, annulled mining contracts signed with some powerful Western companies like American Mineral Fields, based in Bill Clinton’s home-town of Hope Arkansas, and ejected the Rwandan and Ugandan invaders.

Kabila would pay for these decisions with his life.

His successors’ first move upon assuming the presidency was to fly to the United States to give back mining concessions to the companies that had had them revoked by his fictitious father.

Kabila in turn enabled Rwandan and Ugandan proxy forces to occupy and plunder the Kivu province while selling Congo’s riches out to predatory foreign interests.

Gang rapes were carried out by a battalion of the Congolese army trained by U.S. Special Forces.

Maurice Carney, Director of the NGO Friends of the Congo, said that “Kabila [Kanambe] served as a toll-gate for Western corporate interests, sell[ing] off Congo’s riches for pennies on the dollar.”

Among the beneficiaries was Herman Cohen, the former U.S. ambassador to Rwanda and Zaire, whose consulting firm partnered with Rwandan president Paul Kagame to exploit deadly methane in deep water under Lake Kivu on the Congo-Rwanda border.

Congo is vital in providing the raw materials that are used in modern electronic gadgets, and sits atop uranium reserves, cobalt and tantalum which is used in the manufacture of smart bombs and drone technology.

Since 2016, a number of U.S. congressmen have been outspoken in condemning the Kanambe regime without acknowledging that its head is an imposter.

The United States meanwhile continues to provide over $7 million in annual security assistance along with the massive foreign aid to Rwanda and Uganda.

These aid programs should be cut if the United States is serious about promoting democracy and human rights in Africa, and new legislation should be passed that outlaws the exploitation of Congo’s mineral wealth.

Kanambe and his foreign sponsors including mining conglomerates and their political patrons should at the same time be subjected to condemnation and sanction and investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Perhaps then, the peoples of Kivu and Congo may obtain some modicum of independence and justice for the horrendous atrocities they have endured.

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Jeremy Kuzmarov is the author of The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (Monthly Review Press, 2018). 

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