Submit this form
Home News Videos Music Photos Facebook Twitter Friends Newsletter Podcasts Mobile RSS
Profile: Jean-Pierre Gombo Bemba - Mouvement de libération du Congo

Previous article | Next


©  MS Encarta/Kimmo Montyla

Presidential contender Jean-Pierre Bemba, who is the leader of the Mouvement de libération du Congo.

NAIROBI, 23 Aug 2006 (IRIN) - Bemba, 44, is a serving vice-president in charge of finance in the Democractic Republic of Congo's transitional government, and one of two contenders in the second round of presidential elections scheduled for 29 October. He is the leader of the Mouvement de libération du Congo (MLC), a former rebel group that became a political party after the 2002 peace agreement.

In the first round of the DRC's 30 July elections, Bemba did well in parts of the west of the country. In Equateur Province in the northwest - his stronghold during the 1998 to 2002 war - he won almost 100 percent of the vote at some polling stations. He also made a surprisingly strong showing farther southwest, particularly in Bas-Congo Province and the DRC's capital, Kinshasa.

Bemba seems to be harnessing Congolese nationalist sentiment. "He's tough and will stand up to foreigners who think they can control Congo like a puppet," said one supporter in Kinshasa a day before voting. He and other Bemba supporters said they had only decided to vote for Bemba a couple of weeks earlier, based upon the content of his speeches and the thrust of his presidential campaign.

Bemba's detractors portray him as a war criminal. In January 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) received a request from one of the DRC's neighbours, the Central African Republic (CAR), requesting an investigation into killings and rape in the CAR in 2003, when some of Bemba's troops crossed into the country and supported the now-deposed president, Ange-Felix Patasse.

The ICC has not yet said whether it will proceed with the investigation.

Bemba made his debut in politics in 1997 as financial adviser to President Mobutu Seso Seko. The son of a prominent businessman from Equateur Province, he set up the MLC in 1998 with Uganda's backing. As MLC leader, he controlled much of the north and northwest of the DRC during the rebellion against the then president, Laurent Kabila.

Before engaging in politics, Bemba was a businessman, with a master's degree in commerce from ICHEC business school in Brussels. He first managed some of his father's companies, including an aviation company known as Scibe Airlift. He also set up his own telephone company, Comcel, which later went bankrupt.

Bemba ventured into radio and television broadcasting, and still owns Canal Congo TV, Canal Kin TV and Radio Liberté. Bemba's links with Mobutu are not limited to the fact that they both come from Equateur province; one of Bemba's sisters is married to Mobutu's son, Zanga, who also ran for president in the first round of the DRC's July elections.


Bemba, 44, is a serving vice-president in charge of finance in the Democractic Republic of Congo's transitional government, and one of two contenders in the second round of presidential elections scheduled for 29 October. He is the leader of the Mouvement de libération du Congo (MLC), a former rebel group that became a political party after the 2002 peace agreement.

In the first round of the DRC's 30 July elections, Bemba did well in parts of the west of the country. In Equateur Province in the northwest - his stronghold during the 1998 to 2002 war - he won almost 100 percent of the vote at some polling stations. He also made a surprisingly strong showing farther southwest, particularly in Bas-Congo Province and the DRC's capital, Kinshasa.

Bemba seems to be harnessing Congolese nationalist sentiment. "He's tough and will stand up to foreigners who think they can control Congo like a puppet," said one supporter in Kinshasa a day before voting. He and other Bemba supporters said they had only decided to vote for Bemba a couple of weeks earlier, based upon the content of his speeches and the thrust of his presidential campaign.

Bemba's detractors portray him as a war criminal. In January 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) received a request from one of the DRC's neighbours, the Central African Republic (CAR), requesting an investigation into killings and rape in the CAR in 2003, when some of Bemba's troops crossed into the country and supported the now-deposed president, Ange-Felix Patasse.

The ICC has not yet said whether it will proceed with the investigation.

Bemba made his debut in politics in 1997 as financial adviser to President Mobutu Seso Seko. The son of a prominent businessman from Equateur Province, he set up the MLC in 1998 with Uganda's backing. As MLC leader, he controlled much of the north and northwest of the DRC during the rebellion against the then president, Laurent Kabila.

Before engaging in politics, Bemba was a businessman, with a master's degree in commerce from ICHEC business school in Brussels. He first managed some of his father's companies, including an aviation company known as Scibe Airlift. He also set up his own telephone company, Comcel, which later went bankrupt.

Bemba ventured into radio and television broadcasting, and still owns Canal Congo TV, Canal Kin TV and Radio Liberté. Bemba's links with Mobutu are not limited to the fact that they both come from Equateur province; one of Bemba's sisters is married to Mobutu's son, Zanga, who also ran for president in the first round of the DRC's July elections.


Related articles


  1. DR Congo: The country that knows how to beat Ebola (December 11, 2014)
  2. ICC Case Against Bemba Wrapping Up as Another Opens (November 12, 2014)
  3. Ebola Epidemic Resurfaces in DR Congo's Equateur Province (August 25, 2014)
  4. Kerry in DR Congo for Security Talks (May 3, 2014)
  5. Regional Leaders Sign DR Congo Peace Deal (February 24, 2013)
  6. LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony target of viral campaign video (March 7, 2012)
  7. UN, AU vow to eradicate Ugandan rebel group LRA in 2012 (January 5, 2012)
  8. Tshisekedi Says He Won, Can He Prove It? (December 17, 2011)
  9. Kabila Leads Partial Election Results (December 3, 2011)
  10. Candidates to Make Last Stand in Kinshasa before Monday's Election (November 26, 2011)
  11. Obama Sends Troops to Help Fight the LRA (October 14, 2011)
  12. Jean-Pierre Bemba Could Be Kingmaker in DR Congo Presidential Election (September 30, 2011)
  13. 19,497 Candidates to Run for 500 Seats in Parliament (September 26, 2011)
  14. At least 50 Dead after Two Boats Collide on Ruki River (July 29, 2011)
  15. UN envoy tells Security Council of improving security, remaining threats (June 9, 2011)
  16. Rights Groups: Strengthen Civilian Protection Before Elections (June 9, 2011)
  17. Opposition Party Ousts Leader Ahead of Elections (April 21, 2011)
  18. Kabila, Sassou meet in Kinshasa over security (April 16, 2011)
  19. DR Congo Recalls Ambassador to Brazzaville (March 26, 2011)
  20. Great Lakes Regional Summit to Focus on Congo Resource Exploitation (December 15, 2010)
  21. US President Barack Obama outlines plan to defeat Ugandan LRA rebels (November 25, 2010)
  22. Bemba Supporters Say War Crimes Trial is Political (November 23, 2010)
  23. Jean-Pierre Bemba War Crimes Trial Begins Monday (November 21, 2010)
  24. ICC: Ruling on the detention of Jean-Pierre Bemba to be reviewed (November 19, 2010)
  25. ICC Dismisses Jean-Pierre Bemba's Appeal on Admissibility of His Case (October 19, 2010)
  26. Four African nations crack down on LRA (October 16, 2010)
  27. Government Launches Investigation into Latest Boat Accidents (September 6, 2010)
  28. Key excerpts from UN report on Rwandan army genocide in DR Congo (August 27, 2010)
  29. LRA: UNHCR relocates 1,500 refugees from CAR to the DRC (August 24, 2010)
  30. Report: Uganda LRA rebels 'on massive forced recruitment drive' (August 12, 2010)


Live TV Congo Radio en ligne Radio


Make CongoPlanet.com Your Home Page | Contact Us | About Us | Édition en Français | French Edition

© 2018 CongoPlanet.com. All rights reserved.