Prosecutors and senators in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have reportedly launched new moves against the camp of former President Joseph Kabila just days after the removal of a prime minister loyal to him.
More than 60 of the Senate’s 100 members demanded the resignation of Kabila ally and upper house leader Alexis Thambwe Mwamba in a letter, seen by Reuters news agency, addressed to the office of the Senate and signed by Senator Valentin Gerengo M’vene.
Tuesday’s actions mark the latest move by allies of President Felix Tshisekedi to weaken his predecessor’s lingering power.
In recent months, Tshisekedi has chipped away at the influence of Kabila, with whom he had an awkward political alliance following a disputed 2018 election.
A longtime opponent of Kabila, who governed from 2001 to 2019, Tshisekedi won office by beating Kabila’s chosen successor in a vote observers said another opposition candidate had won.
However, the new president had been forced to bargain over policies with Kabila, who maintained extensive control across state institutions and security services.
The Senate petitioners’ letter did not explain why they want to remove Mwamba.
Two senators, who asked not to be identified, said the move was linked to corruption allegations, Reuters reported.
On Monday, prosecutors at the country’s top court had written to ask the upper house to allow an inquiry into its Speaker Mwamba for “embezzlement of public funds”, a letter, seen by the AFP news agency, revealed.
Mwamba is accused of having 2 million euros ($2.4m) and $1m delivered to his house on January 6, prosecutor Victor Mumba said in the letter to the Senate’s bureau, which oversees the affairs of the upper house.
The bureau replied that Mwamba “agreed to temporarily keep the funds at his home” for safekeeping, because of “turbulence” that day in the National Assembly, which is next door to the Senate.
The money was picked up the following day by the Senate treasurer, and returned to the Senate’s keeping, it said.
Mwamba’s fall would be the latest setback for Kabila loyalists following the resignation of pro-Kabila Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba last month, after a successful censure motion in the National Assembly, where the majority of MPs appeared to rally behind Tshisekedi’s new Sacred Union of the Nation group.
The incumbent’s renewed bid to remove Kabila’s camp from DR Congo’s institutions notched up its first win on December 10, when MPs removed the National Assembly’s pro-Kabila speaker.