The Democratic Republic of Congo is grieving the loss of Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza, a co-founder of the ruling UDPS, who died on Saturday, according to his party.
According to Mukalay Lama, the secretary-general of the National Union of Congolese Federalists, Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza died after a “brief illness” in Angola, where he was treated.
“I call on all the high executives, executives, fighters, to remain calm, serene and especially disciplined during this very difficult moment that our dear party is going through,” added the text, mourning the death of the “national monument” that was Gabriel Kyungu.
Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza, well known as “Baba wa Katanga,” was the president of Katanga’s provincial assembly until his death in February.
He began his public career as a trade unionist representing his profession in 1965, while he was a teacher.
He was later elected to parliament and was one of the 13 well-known parliamentarians detained in the early 1980s by the autocratic late Mobutu regime for their political beliefs.
Following that, Mobutu appointed him twice as governor of the enormous Katanga and then, from 1997 and 2001, as ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the United Arab Emirates under Laurent Kabila’s administration.
He was twice president of Greater Katanga’s provincial assembly under Joseph Kabila (2001-2019). (a mineral-rich region divided into four provinces – Tanganyika, Haut-Lomami, Lualaba and Haut-Katanga – in 2015).
Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza, a proponent of federalism, was also a founder of the UDPS (Union for Democracy and Social Progress), an opposition party founded by Mobutu and now led by President Felix Tshisekedi.