01 November 2011

Who Killed Laurent-Désiré Kabila?

I have no idea what the answer to the question, but this documentary on Al Jazeera was certainly very interesting.

From director Arnaud Zajtman:
I had followed the trial and felt that those condemned were only scapegoats, chosen by former members of Kabila's entourage in a bid to help his son, Joseph, pretend that he had found his father's killers and thus allow him to reassert his power.

I felt that this story was important but that it was overshadowed by another. A major war involving six African nations and various rebel factions was raging in DR Congo. Massacres and rapes were part of daily life for many Congolese and this kept the handful of press correspondents living and working in DR Congo, like myself, busy.


However, after a year-long investigation, my conclusion is that Kabila was killed by his bodyguard, Rachidi Muzele, who was part of a plot that involved a handful of his colleagues, a Lebanese businessman who acted as an intermediary and Rwanda, which masterminded the assassination, knowing that the US was not against it, and gave shelter to those involved.

With no succession plan in place, Rwanda had bet on ensuing chaos that would allow it to continue exploiting the vast mineral wealth of eastern DR Congo.

Kabila was killed, but the rest of the plot did not go according to plan. To the surprise of many, Joseph Kabila was appointed to succeed his father, and a stronger Congo emerged, slowly managing to regain its sovereignty.

This thesis, which is carefully developed in the film Murder in Kinshasa, has recently been confirmed to me by a former leading intelligence official from Rwanda who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity and by a former Rwandan chief prosecutor who spoke to the Belgian press.

The 50 civilians and soldiers who are still locked up in Kinshasa's jail are not part of this plot but are only scapegoats.

To me, the disgraceful thing is that Joseph Kabila, who is running for re-election in a month, clings onto the official version of events and is unwilling to set them free.
I know that there are some experts out there who can weigh in, so please do.