Sunday, 12 February 2012

Augustin Katumba Mwanke: profile & analysis

Augustin Katumba Mwanke died today in a plane crash near Bukavu.

Augustin Katumba Mwanke was Kabila’s éminence grise. His voice in economic matters was taken seriously. Already close to Kabila père, this Katangais (b. Pweto, 1963) was behind the Congo-China deal and was very influential in facilitating relations between the Kinshasa political elite and the mining sector. Although he did hold any official position in the Kabila cabinet, he was former head of the Alliance for the Presidential Majority (AMP).


Kabila already has serious problems managing criticism of the recent elections fiasco. The loss of his main advisor is an additional blow.

This former governor of Katanga (appointed by L.-D.Kabila in April 1998) served on the board of Anvil Mining. He was accused of financial wrongdoing by the UN group of experts investigating the illegal exploitation of Congo natural resources which led to his dismissal from the position of Minister of State Assets (portefeuille de l'Etat).

The profile below is excerpted and adapted from a classified cable by US Ambassador William J. Garvelink.

Known for his business acumen, political discretion and efficiency, Katumba made no secret of his desire to leave the DRC to become ambassador to Israel, Switzerland or South Africa.

Katumba was suspected of having significant health problems. He spent several weeks in South Africa in 2009 for medical treatment. The nature of his health problems is not known but some observers believe he was HIV positive. This theory would seem bolstered by his emaciated physical appearance.

Katumba rarely met with diplomats. He was viewed by many as a kind of shady, even nefarious figure within Kabila’s inner circle. A former financier who lived many years in South Africa before returning to the DRC after Mobutu’s departure, he is believed to have managed much of Kabila’s personal fortune.

He was known to be close to Dan Gertler, a mysterious Israeli trader in precious minerals who, according to some sources, lends Kabila his private jet for trips abroad. Gertler invited Katumba to Israel often. Although Katumba would like to go to South Africa, it seems that Pretoria would not accept him because of suspected illegal banking transactions in the past.

Before the crash, someone made a clairvoyant comment on a Congolese internet forum about Katumba. It seems an appropriate ephitaph: ‘les faucons, ils finirons un jour, croyez-moi’.

56 comments:

  1. Johanna Jansson12 February 2012 19:00

    Thanks for this Prof Trefon

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    1. "Officiellement, il n'avait pas un titre protocolaire de premier plan. Ni chef de corps ni member du government ni conseiller special du chef de l'etat. A l'assemblee nationale, il n'etait que depute parmi les 499 augers. Et sa modestie, sa discretion caracteristique de l'ethnie Bemba du Katanga achevait de le faire passer. Aux yeux du grand public pour juste un notable" Le Forum des As, Kinshasa.

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  2. You are just ridicoulous, you make me vomit.......right we need more idiot like you ..... Have at leadt the decency to stay in silence after somebody s death. Looser

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    1. Death does not excuse wrongdoing, nor give you the right to call people names. Being considerate is one of the remedies of Congo you shout try it. Vomit you can do it is your right ad your choice. He was the worst person around the president ever. Actually as problems of Congo one can count: War, corruption, and Kabila seen and unseen government. The biggest was that person you are referring to. Silent congolese were when he was alive and are still when he is dead. Just respect other people opinion, and you will start healing the congo from there.

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    2. You would think Rasputin has just died and gone with him the healing magic around the imperial household of Russia. How cleaver to attempt describing a person you never met before, never knew in any capacity other than the mere tabloid rumors of the day. I would refrain myself from talking or writing with a sense of clout on the subject.

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  3. What a jerk! This victim's body is still warm from a terrible accident and the only hatred you can find to spew around is this BS! Shame on you. By the way, "les falcons" are not the only species to die someday. How about a nasty obituary for yourself when your time is up!

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    1. This shows how you guys lack sympathy for the countless lives, this man has caused to death.Congo is at the bottom of every ranking, because these guys, including the deceased have been heartless to the misery of people. Yes, I now believe that there is big money in misery. I do not rejoice in his passing, but it goes to show that sooner or later, every sin is paid here on earth. He epitomized big plunders, and corruption that is vivid and alive in Congo. At last, may his soul rest in peace, but one soul for the price of 8 millions victims of his evil doing!

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    2. Wow! Now Katumba is responsible for 5 million deaths in Congo. What a delirium!!! You are quick to throw ownerships lightly without giving it a single thought. All people who work in the government are thieves, murders and all other nasty epithets you can find. Sad!

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    3. Think of blood mining. His hands are all covered by blood of kids who die in these holes everyday, their mothers are raped everyday, their fathers are killed everyday and who that profit? who got commissions? who is the number one key adviser of mining? what did the porte parole said? "We are going to miss the Key Player in mining negotiation" This is no time for selective amnesia. He was bad but five million is a lot of credit maybe 1 million.

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    4. This is a very simplistic way of looking at things. There is plenty of blame to go around. But only when we will learn to care first about our own then any threat from outside the country will not matter. China is a good example of that. Who should in your mind negotiate for mining in the country? Some alien from Mars? Somebody has to do it. Be it Katumba...

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  4. I would rather sympathise with all the Congolese who have been affected by war, starvation and other unimageable situations than those who are perpatrating it. No Congolese should insult nor mourn such a person's death, quite simply, he should be written out of our history books.

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    1. Of course, that is your personal opinion and thanks God you have no mandate in speaking for all Congolese. I am sure there are many who do not necessarily share your opinion.

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  5. I am a Congolese, and would love to spit on his [Augustin Katumba] dirty corpse after celebrating his death with champagne. There is no pity for a traitor like him.

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    1. He was a thief! Someone who betrayed his own people. I am sure workers at the morgue are busy beating his corpse up.
      En francais:
      Il etait un voleur de reputation internationale qui a trahi son propre peuple. Les travailleurs a la morgue sont entrain de fouetter son corps tres serieusement. Une bonne lecon pour les autres collabos qui attendent sur le couloir de la mort.

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    2. What a backward way of thinking. You are full of hatred. Thanks God people like you are not in charge in Congo and will never be until you understand that we all are in this together as one people.

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  6. ebembe ya moyibi matanga te!

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  7. KAtumba was an hard working man. not a thief.do you have any evidence in believing your saying?you are pretending,it is your right.you can 't prove it.
    He died on duty for the good of his country.

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  8. You are sick you some African.Every body who is working in Government is believed to be a thief.It is scary to become a President or minister in Africa.Katumba had left a lot in South Africa, spent very little time with his family.Worked very hard to the top to serve his country.He will be remembered by many for serving his country.Died serving!

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    1. Give us a break! who work hard in Congo if it is not to sell sisters, kill brothers and enslave kids! Go and try and you will see.

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    2. Tell this crony to shut up and find some hobby...a thief is a thief...
      En tout cas, les dictateurs ont leurs pleureurs. Des gens, pas de toujours de mains ni de la classe, qui sont prêts à mourir pour eux.

      Les exemples africains de la Libye, de l’Egypte et de la Tunisie renseignent sur une toute autre façon de voir les dictateurs. Loin de les aimer ni de les caresser, les peuples de ces pays ont chassé voire massacrer leurs dictateurs. Le téméraire guide libyen, le colonel Mouammar Kadafi a laissé sa peau, lynché par le peuple qu’il disait aimer ; Ben Ali a dû fuir de sa Tunisie natale pour avoir la vie sauve, alors Hosni Moubarcak livre tout le temps la scène pitoyable d’un vieil homme jugé dans une cage et sur une civière.

      from Cox of London

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    3. "To shut-up"? The choice of words tells it all about a person. Some people are not fit for a public exchange forum. I regret to say that you might be one of them. More civility is expected from all throughout ours dicussions no matter how heated they might be.

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    4. Un de ces parvenus ...ils trichent "avec toutes les règles du jeu: esclavage social, pollution ... "Ca veut dire que quand il y a de l'argent sale on le prend"....

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  9. Show me which President who does not have an advisor.He was an advisor, not a decider.

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    1. Actually the President was his puppet. Everybody know it even you. The president professes it. He never talk in any, yes I say it and I know it any meeting. He "listens" and he is not the one who will give you the answer, you will end up seeing the mega adviser to pay the "sehemu" What are you talking about. Worse system ever.

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    2. Only the Dictators decide without
      consultation.It means a President does not decide like a King.

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    3. Apparently the adviser missed to advise to restore the airport that has been in project since 1968, has caused thousand of fatal accidents and deaths since the adviser and his chief are in power. Or maybe a jet that does not belong to the killing flying junk serving the common of the population as air transportation would brave the lack of that airport runway. ADVISER!!!!

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    4. BEST RESULTS OF ADVISING EVER!!!!!

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    5. There are contrasting examples in Africa of female powers behind the throne, says Richard Dowden of the Royal African Society.

      "Sally Mugabe was a really soothing, sensible influence on [her husband, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe] and many people trace his going completely over the top to after she died. Up until then she was the one that restrained him. That is the perception, at least."

      When he married his second wife, Grace, the perception is that it all changed, says Mr Dowden, as she embraced the extravagant lifestyle commonly associated with spouses of very wealthy, autocratic leaders.

      But Grace is not thought to have had political influence, unlike Simone Gbagbo, wife of deposed Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo, who is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court on four charges of crimes against humanity.

      "Simone Gbagbo was a more militant version of him," says Mr Dowden. "As a politician he was a bit shifty but she was really hardline and used language that Gbagbo himself would not have used.

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    6. I thought the subject was Katumba's death.

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    7. mugabe,zuma,kagame, most of these african savages...they are answerable to their white paymasters.....sarkozy and all of these multinationals...

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  10. If this was not about death of a human being, some of us would have been entertained by the circular firing quad nature of this article made of unsubstantiated rumors and innuendo exaggerations and outright inaccuracies on a respectable personality who just left us.

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  11. how forgiving are my congolese people? how couldnt all these people in power see that congolese are the most precious and loving people and just give them what they ask of them? just the minimum vital. that's all we ask for. if we could just have 3 meals a day, send our kids to school, just the basic for life, give us back our respect and dignity, respect our mothers, sisters, daughters... to read all previous comments no one seems to really wanna pay evils with evils that's who we are, even the ones saying it's good that Mwanke is dead, you just feel that they really don't mean it. everyone is just ready to forgive and forget. that's us. that's our value, people with great heart and soul... stop taking advantage of our good heart by stealing our wealth let us all also share and enjoy the greatness of our rich country.May your soul rest in peace Katumba! but for you others greedy out there who still think you got it all under control, this should teach you a lesson that the Master of the Univers got the last say and got it all under control not you. Remember that one day you too will have to answer to his call and leave it all on earth, why sell your soul for it? Now Katumba is gone leaving behind power, wealth and influence,you name it, what will he really take along with him? nothing. May the peace of our God be with you all my people.

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  12. What is the process to count the country among this man heirs? He has been looting this country for many years. Getting huge commissions on contracts that is still enslaving kids in Kivu, even before his death. What on earth these 8 mafiozzi went to do in Idjwi if it is not making 8 year old little boys digging coltan? There is not a government in Congo just a bunch of looters. So, the country should think of seize his property and organize schools, hospitals, pay military and teachers, we are talking of billion here.

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    1. Tough talk! Shooting in the air. In the end you do not know what you are talking about.

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    2. Still, seize property has to be the next lobbing process. let us get started

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  13. Augustin Katumba Mwanke, 44 ans (né à Pweto, Katanga), le 5 octobre 1963, marié et père de trois enfants, tous des filles, a donc été nommé par le Chef de l’État Joseph Kabila Kabange ,«l’Autorité Morale de l’Amp» pour diriger la structure politico-administrative de l’Alliance. Le jeune ressortissant de l’ethnie Bemba né à Pweto, dans le lointain Katanga.
    Ingénieur Mécanicien diplômé de l’Université de Kinshasa, le nouveau Chef de l’Amp a débuté sa vie dans la banque où il devient directeur en Afrique du Sud -- de là son image d’homme de l’ombre -- mais c’est surtout un homme de terrain qui a évolué dans le secteur minier dans le pays de Nelson Mandela d’où coulent style austère et pragmatisme anglosaxon. Katumba Mwanke allie plusieurs valeurs humaines: clairvoyance, rigueur, nationalisme, réserve, discrétion, fidélité, loyauté, sérieux, humanisme, humilité, goût du beau, moralité. Clairvoyant, l’homme traite minutieusement les affaires publiques, qui passent par ses mains, dans un écrémage comme le ferait un ingénieur assis dans son laboratoire. Il s’attire les ennuis de ceux qui espèrent filtrer dans les nominations à coups d’influence, de clientélisme ou d’injections financières.
    Fidélité et loyauté. C’est ici où il tire le bénéfice de son capital enfoui dans sa réserve. Comme il parle peu, il consacre beaucoup d’efforts à tenir sa promesse, remplir le devoir et concrétiser un projet. Assidu, calme, tempéré, équilibré, réceptif, hospitalier et respectueux. il draine toute la noblesse de la culture bemba. Valeurs indéniables pour le développement du Katanga et du Congo.

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    1. Yeah a great thief

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    2. Un contrebandier est une personne qui souvent, tel une image d'Epinal, traverse les frontières pour vendre des produits (tabac, alcool, armes, vêtements...) d'une contrée à un pays qui ne peut posséder soit législativement, soit financièrement cette denrée.
      Un contrebandier est souvent (mais pas toujours) hors-la-loi au sens commun du terme, car le pays d'où vient la marchandise ne touche pas de taxes d'exportation et l'état où l'on vend le produit ne peut prélever aucune charge fiscale, puisque l'échange est clandestin.
      Cox de London

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  14. waste of space...time to go...
    Cronyism is partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications. Hence, cronyism is contrary in practice and principle to meritocracy.

    Cronyism exists when the appointer and the beneficiary are in social contact; often, the appointer is inadequate to hold his or her own job or position of authority, and for this reason the appointer appoints individuals who will not try to weaken him or her, or express views contrary to those of the appointer. Politically, "cronyism" is derogatorily used.
    from Cox in UK

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    1. We can all "google" and use a dictionnary. Do not waste our time

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    2. slave keep fighting for your freedom,although this a far cry from your lack of vision and your stupidity helps you survive another missed opportunity called your pathetic upbringing...
      yes man...

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    3. ignore thisbrain dead slow coach,it is rather obvious that this stick-in-the-mud is content to remain in an abject condition...
      from Cox in the UK

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  15. Finally all African leaders are seen as
    thiefs not servants.Seen as coming to take
    not to give.Scary to become leader in Africa!

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  16. Did you know he had a young fiance living in South Africa? How many wives did he have? How many children? Anyone know?

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    1. And that is going to be held against him too?

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    2. everyone is a prophet or something?
      They believe whatever they think,
      without proof.No one can win a
      court case without proof. Oh!I am sorry
      bra.This is a free world.Anyone can say whatever they think.

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    3. Are you guessing or what?
      Yah! you are guessing

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  17. Since when having more women in Congo was a crime? Are you faithfull yourself to your lover?

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  18. Augutin Katumba was so loyal to his master [Joseph Kabila], and finally the master decided to sacrify him.

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    1. "Sacrifice"...Typical African voodoo thinking. Somehow every death is caused by somebody out there. We are still a long way from the woods...

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    2. you are right

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  19. Failed state: Can DR Congo recover?
    DR Congo in figures
    Population: 70 million
    UN human development index: Bottom of 187 countries surveyed
    Life expectancy: 48 years
    Has 70% of the globe's coltan - vital for mobile phones
    Average annual income: $300
    With 13% of the world's hydropower potential, its network of rivers could power much of Africa
    Just 9% of the population has access to electricity
    Sources: Estimated figures from the UN and World Bank
    People in the Democratic Republic of Congo expect very little from the state, government or civil servants.

    In fact, ordinary Congolese often repeat expressions like "the state is dying but not yet dead" or "the state is ever present but completely useless".

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    1. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/02/the-next-5-emerging-economies-that-will-change-the-world/253463/#slide4

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  20. Augustin Katumba (c'est de lui qu'il s'agit), cet idiot et voleur de renommee internationale a encore gagne la mort par tricherie. Kabila serait peut-etre le meilleur candidat a l'emporter. Cette fois, il a ete pris la main dans le sac lors de cette mission secrete dont le but etait de transformer cet ile du Kivu en un paradis terrestre pour leurs plaisirs avec l'argent vole. Il avait l'art de seduire les chefs d'Etat (L.D. kabila et J. Kabila fut ses illustres victimes). Apres s'etre enrichis sur nos morts et sur les richesses de notre pays, il se fut ecrase comme un cancrelat. A cause de tes peches, les injures te suivront si meme dans le fond de ta tombe. Personne ne respecte ta memoire, sauf ceux qui venaient mendier chez toi.

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  21. Ahh. Enfin Comprenne ki pourra.On les Utilise ,ils ammassent nos richesses puis on les ecrasent et on recupere la richesse et va dormir chez les proches nokos.
    L`homme fort de mes deux eliminer comme un cancrelat.Moise tu as ete wise et prudent.Pas celui dont la richesse et deposeder sans heritance.

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