Kamhere Vital
Kamhere Vital

Biography Vital Kamerhe lwa Kanyiginyi Nkingi, Life, studies, nationality

Vital Kamerhe Lwa Kanyiginyi Nkingi, born March 4, 1959 in Bukavu, is an economist and politician from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was notably president of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Former general secretary of the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), he became campaign director for President Joseph Kabila during the 2006 elections, before falling into disgrace in 2009. In December 2010, Vital Kamerhe launched his own party political, the Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC) and is a candidate in the presidential election of November 28, 2011. He wins 7.74% of the vote and his campaign is overshadowed by the duel between the outgoing president Joseph Kabila and his opposing Etienne Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS).

Vital Kamerhe has held various positions in several ministerial offices, including those of Léon Kengo, Mushobekwa Kalimba wa Katana and General Denis Kalume Numbi. He was appointed Deputy Government Commissioner General (AFDL) responsible for relations with MONUC. He later became titular government commissioner responsible for monitoring the peace process in the Great Lakes region. He held this position until his appointment as Minister of Press and Information in the transitional government in 2003.

Vital Kamerhe is a prominent and controversial figure from the period beginning with the Second Congo War in 1998 and the various subsequent “peace” processes that established a low-intensity predation war in eastern Congo over the long term. The result will have been the deadliest war since the Second World War with more than 6 million victims.

Vital Kamerhe is the son of Constantin Kamerhe Kanyiginyi and Alphonsine Nemberwa Mwankingi. They are of Shi origin from Walungu in South Kivu province. Vital Kamerhe was born in Bukavu on March 4, 1959 in the province of Kivu.

Vital Kamerhe is married to Mamick Boji, daughter of a former dignitary from Bukavu. The couple have eight children. Vital kamerhe is currently in a relationship with Amida the ex-wife of musician JB Mpiana and businessman Didi Kinuani. He has 14 children in all of his marital unions.

Vital Kamerhe is a polyglot who generally masters the four national languages ​​of the Congo: Kikongo, Lingala, Swahili and Tshiluba in addition to certain foreign languages.

He began his primary studies in Bukavu then in Goma in the province of Kivu. He pursues them to Kasaï-Oriental in Ngandajika where he will finish his primary school. From 1973 to 1975 he attended the Sadisana Institute (former college Saint-François-Xavier) in Kikwit Sacré-Coeur, in the province of Bandundu. He is then in third and fourth scientist, option Mathematics-Physics. The following year, the family moved again to Kananga (Kasai-Occidental province) for a year before returning to Kasai-Oriental this time in Mbuji-Mayi. There, he obtained his state diploma (high school diploma) in 1980 at the Mulemba Institute.

In 1980, he enrolled at the University of Kinshasa. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Economic Sciences in 1987. From 1987 to 1995, he was a lecturer at the Faculty of Economic Sciences at the University of Kinshasa, under the supervision of Professor Nyembo. After 10 years as an assistant, he took his first steps in politics at the Union for Democracy and Social Progress in 1984.

Kamerhe says he took his first political steps in the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS). Several sources claim that he was active in the Front des jeunes mobutistes (FROJEMO) as an “informant” during his studies at the Kinshasa campus. This version is corroborated by Vital Kamerhe himself. During an interview on May 10, 2014, for the first time, he goes back to his political activism in 1981 when he was in university in the second year of the first cycle (“graduat”) but denies having been under the banner of the Popular Movement of the Revolution. In 1987, he mentioned his meeting with Marshal Mobutu in Nsele, a meeting initiated by the Military Action and Intelligence Service, while in 1983 he joined the young supporters of Etienne Tshisekedi’s UDPS.

At the end of his studies, Vital Kamerhe joined the Mobutist spheres first as coordinator of the Planning Studies Unit of Higher and University Education from 1988 to 1989, then as economic and financial advisor to the Ministry of Mines and Energy from 1989 to 1990. April 24, 1990 marks the end of the second Republic. Vital Kamerhe remains in the ruling camp.

From 1991 to 1992, four prime ministers succeeded the Zairian government. Vital Kamerhe occupies a few positions in a more or less ephemeral way depending on the speed of succession of the prime ministers. During this period, according to Kamerhe’s own words, he abandoned his postname (Lwa Kanyiginyi Nkingi) “for media reasons”. He became an advisor to the Ministry of Mines under the government of Jean Nguza Karl-I-Bond in 1992. Also in 1992 he became a financial advisor to the Ministry of Posts, Telephones and Telecommunications, while assuming the function of director of studies for the Chamber of Franco-Zairean trade.

From 1990 to 1995, he served as president of the Youth of the Sacred Union of the Radical Opposition and Allies (JUSORAL) During this period, he held several positions in various ministerial offices at a rate as accelerated as during successions. of ephemeral governments in 1991. In 1993 he was director of the cabinet of the Ministry of the Environment, Tourism and Nature Conservation (Zaire had two governments in 1993: that of Faustin Birindwa, by presidential ordinance of April 2, 1993 , and the Tshisekedi government revised by the ministerial decree of April 9, 1993). In 1994 he became coordinator of the Office of Prime Minister Kengo Wa Dondo, in the seventh government of the Mobutu transition (order of July 6, 1994). Finally from 1994 to 1995 he was director of cabinet to the Minister of Higher and University Education Mushobekwa Kalimba wa Katana in the revamped government of Kengo wa Dondo.

When the first Congo War ended in 1997, Laurent-Désiré Kabila came to power supported by his party, the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo (AFDL). The regime is flanked by Rwandan and Ugandan allies carried at arm’s length by the Anglo-Saxons and the Kingdom of Belgium. In 1997, Vital Kamerhe moved from opposition to Mobutu to joining the AFDL regime.

In 1997, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila entrusted to General Denis Kalume Numbi the task of setting up the “National Service”. This paramilitary structure brings together soldiers and civilians, with the objective of agricultural production, training of young people in the trades and basic military training. Vital Kamerhe is appointed administrative and financial director in his office.

At the outbreak of the Second Congo War in August 1998, Vital Kamerhe met Joseph Kabila during the defense of Kinshasa airport. Since August 2, landed on the Atlantic coast, an international Tutsi coalition (Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Eritrea), sponsored by the United States and its western allies, disguised as a “rebellion” of the Congolese Rally for Democracy was trying to capture Kinshasa International Airport.

Shortly after, during the Victoria Falls conference in Zimbabwe, Laurent-Désiré Kabila noticed Vital Kamerhe. He was part of the government delegation during the negotiations for the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in July 1999 when he was deputy chief of staff at the Ministry of Reconstruction. Returning to the country, at the time of the conclusion of the headquarters agreement between the DRC and the UN for the establishment of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) at the beginning of l he year 2000, Vital Kamerhe became the Deputy Commissioner General at the General Commission of the Government responsible for MONUC affairs for political, logistical and financial matters (2000-2002). He is the assistant of Professor Ntwaremba Onfre (Bandundu), alongside Vangu Mambweni ma Busana (Bas-Congo). A leadership struggle within the team serves the organization and annihilates the action of this structure, whose mission was to manage relations between the government and MONUC.

Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated in January 2001 and Joseph Kabila became president of the Republic. The new president then began steps to launch negotiations with the Congo’s adversaries: the “Inter-Congolese Dialogue”. Vital Kamerhe is appointed Government Commissioner General in charge of Monitoring the Peace Process in the Great Lakes Region. He thus occupied a strategic position at this precise time while the Second Congo War, a regional conflict which at one time involved up to seven African armies, became bogged down in a low intensity war, centered east of the Republic. It will not be less deadly, in fact it will become the deadliest since the Second World War, the number of victims exceeding six million.

At the end of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, Vital Kamerhe requests a new position. He was appointed Minister of Press and Transition Information from 2003 to 2004.

On March 31, 2002 in Kinshasa, the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) was founded. On July 1, 2004 the General Secretariat of the PPRD was entrusted to Vital Kamerhe with the objective of launching the Kabila campaign for the 2006 elections. On Friday March 10, 2006, the day after the promulgation of the electoral law, Vital Kamerhe presented to the public a book, Why I chose Joseph Kabila, in which he praises Kabila. Faced with the little success that the campaign for Joseph Kabila harvested in the entire western half of the country, Vital Kamerhe bet on his hinterland, in Kivu and the Swahiliphone part of the DRC. He also set up his own base there as a deputy candidate in this part of the country very affected by the Rwandan wars and invasions. After the elections, Vital Kamerhe was elected deputy for the constituency of Bukavu in South Kivu with an overwhelming majority.

In December 2006, he was elected president of the National Assembly of Congo-Kinshasa. On May 11, 2007, Léon Kengo Wa Dondo (born Léon Lubicz) presented himself as an independent candidate for the post of President of the Senate. Against all odds, he defeated Leonard She Okitundu, candidate for the AMP, the ruling majority coalition.

After this maneuver, only the government ceded to Antoine Gizenga of the United Lumumbist Party (Palu) during the formation of the ruling coalition escapes the clan of Rwandan descent. On the other hand, this official government is greatly weakened by the establishment, around the presidency, of a “parallel” government, with ministers having a higher decision-making power than those of the official government.

A joint Rwandan-Congolese armed operation in North Kivu against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) was planned between January 20 and February 27, 2009. This secret operation codenamed Umoja Wetu (fr) (our unit) was negotiated by Congolese President Joseph Kabila and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, both from the Rwandan patriotic army, the Tutsi rebel group that invaded Rwanda from 1990 to 1994 from Uganda (phenomenon of soldiers without borders) ).

Vital Kamerhe publicly declared his opposition and criticized the fact that the entry of the enemy’s former army into the Congo had not been discussed in Parliament. President Kabila stressed that he nevertheless warned Kamerhe of it and considered this public exit to be unfair and very politically delicate. Under the instigation of Joseph Kabila’s entourage, on February 24, 2009, the Vice-President of the National Assembly Christophe Lutundula and the Assistant Quaestor Brigitte Kalama presented their resignation at the office of the secretary of the National Assembly. Cornered, Vital Kamerhe resigned on March 26, 2009.

The question of Congolese nationality of Vital Kamerhe returns with insistence. • He claims to have a diploma which uses his first name Vital, obtained at the time of Zairianization during which only foreigners could register at university with a first name of European origin. • Some claim that the “Rwandan” nationality is well inscribed on his diploma, which would justify the presence of his first name on this document. It would have also given him the right to a grant from the CEPGL (Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries), awarded by the Zairian government of the time to nationals of Rwanda and Burundi. • Many independent people who rubbed shoulders with him during his schooling claim to have known him carrying the postname “Rwakanyasigize”, a name which has nothing of the Shi tribe which man claims today, which would be otherwise consistent with the patrilineal system adopted by the communities of the region. Kamerhe has faced many questions fraught with innuendo. He responded without always persuading.

A diplomatic cable from William Garvelink (fr) – former US ambassador to Kinshasa – describes to his hierarchy the power struggle that took place between President Joseph Kabila Kabange and Vital Kamerhe. In this secret cable dated March 2, 2009 and revealed by Wikileaks, the American diplomat delivers a nuanced portrait of Vital Kamerhe: “His reputation as a modernizing, democratic and honest leader may not quite correspond to reality … His detractors even accused him (accusations that we cannot corroborate), of stoking – for political ends – the flame of the conflict in the provinces of North and South Kivu (…) in order to weaken Kabila. According to a source, he even sent money to renegade general Laurent Nkundabatware in his effort to destabilize Kabila. Whether these allegations are true or not, all the Western diplomats with whom we spoke agree on the observation that Kamerhe frequently resorts to lies to secure political gain. […] Our informants tell us that his blind ambition to one day become president has compromised his judgment … He is suspected of having blocked investigations into allegations of embezzlement of considerable sums during his presidency of the Assembly national ”.

On April 18, 2009, Évariste Boshab succeeds Vital Kamerhe as President of the National Assembly. On December 14, 2010, Vital Kamerhe resigned from the PPRD and the National Assembly and presented to the public his new party: the Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC). Two days later, he returned to his electoral base in Kivu. Vital Kamerhe said for the occasion: “I came to tell the people of Goma that I lied in 2006”. Outside of his stronghold, a good part of public opinion and the Congolese political opposition in general continue to perceive him as a “stooge” for President Kabila, awaiting his turn in 2016. Visibly resistant to the openness of the Congo’s economic space to China, Kamerhe recommends a new formula for triangular trade on the Atlantic.

On April 5, 2011, Vital Kamerhe published his reflections at Larcier Publishing. In a message to the West, the economist argues that the DRC has a strategic role to play. At the end of his party’s congress held in Kinshasa, he was invested as a candidate in the presidential election of November 28, 2011. In addition, 447 UNC candidates are running for 500 seats in parliament for the legislative elections. The new electoral system for the presidential, however comprising only one round, Vital Kamerhe advocates the union of the opposition against Joseph Kabila, without announcing his withdrawal. The president of the UDPS, Etienne Tshisekedi, also refuses to give up his place.

The 2011 electoral campaign was entirely dominated by the duo Joseph Kabila, the outgoing president on one side, and Etienne Tshisekedi on the other side, overshadowing the other candidates. Despite this, neither the mobutist Léon Kengo, president of the Senate, nor Vital Kamerhe wanted to line up under the banner of Tshisekedi.

The 2011 electoral campaign was entirely dominated by the duo Joseph Kabila, the outgoing president on one side, and Etienne Tshisekedi on the other side, overshadowing the other candidates. Despite this, neither the mobutist Léon Kengo, president of the Senate, nor Vital Kamerhe wanted to line up under the banner of Tshisekedi.

Ally of Félix Tshisekedi after the debacle of Geneva in order to seek a common candidate for presidential election of December 2018, alliance which will be concretized by the creation of CACH (Cape for Change) in Nairobi whose essential point stipulated that Vital had to be appointed first, but alas the elections decided otherwise, and Vital contented himself with the role of Director of Cabinet.

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