Big smiles, a hug, and the features of faces that have barely aged. Two years have passed but only the gray goat framing the face of Vital Kamerhe recalls the time and the trials he has gone through since his last meeting with Felix Tshisekedi.
This Tuesday, June 28, at night chinese, the two men met at the City of the African Union to display their closeness to the objectives, as if it had never failed to capsize. For more than two hours, they discussed today’s major challenges and “how to meet them”. One could almost have mistaken it, and believed that, facing the president, it was his chief of staff who was standing there.
DRC: Felix Tshisekedi or the loneliness of power
However, five days earlier, before the Kinshasa-Gombe Court of Appeal pronounced his acquittal, Vital Kamerhe was still only a defendant. Sentenced in 2020 to ten years of ineligibility and twenty years in prison – a sadness reduced on appeal to thirteen years of detention – for corruption and embezzlement, the boss of the Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC) only saw his future become clearer in December 2021. He was then released for reasons medical conditions, but there are already signs of the possibility of leniency in the justice system.
A very useful acquittal for the president, a year and a half before the scheduled date of the presidential election – a postponement of a few months is mentioned more and more urgently. While Félix Tshisekedi publicly announced his intention to run for a second term, Vital Kamerhe was becoming indispensable.