Kinshasa, DR Congo, Feb 5 – The speaker of DR Congo’s Senate, Alexis Thambwe Mwamba, tendered his resignation on Friday, according to a letter seen by AFP, in the latest move to sideline allies of former president Joseph Kabila.
In a letter to the Senate’s supervisory bureau, Thambwe Mwamba said “trust no longer exists between a group of senators and myself,” referring to plans by a majority of legislators to file a censure motion against him.
His resignation is the latest in a string of top-level political departures following a tussle for power between supporters of Kabila and President Felix Tshisekedi, who succeeded the long-ruling leader in January 2019.
A proposal to debate a censure motion had been signed by 64 senators out of 109.
The proposal had been enabled by a change in the Senate bureau — a shift that Thambwe Mwamba, a 77-year-old veteran former minister and prominent Kabila backer, also said was a factor in his decision to quit.
On Wednesday, a Tshisekedi supporter, 79-year-old Christophe Mboso, was elected speaker of the National Assembly, three weeks after its pro-Kabila head, Jeanine Mabunda, was forced out.
Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba was pushed out last week following a censure motion in parliament, where a majority of deputies have switched allegiance from Kabila to Tshisekedi.
Kabila stepped down after 18 years in office, opening the way to elections in December 2018 that were controversially won by Tshisekedi, the son of a veteran opposition leader.
But the new president was forced into a coalition with Kabila supporters in parliament — an arrangement that, he complained, stymied his plans of reform.
Tensions boiled over last October when Tshisekedi appointed three judges to the Constitutional Court, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s highest judicial authority.
On Thursday, pro-Kabila senators lashed moves to force out Thambwe Mwamba as “the final blow to the republic’s institutions” and “bare-faced installation of a monolithic dictatorship.”