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DR Congo mourns founder of the ruling party UDPS

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JUNIOR KANNAH/AFP or licensors

Democratic Republic of Congo

DR Congo is mourning the death of Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza, one of the co-founders of the ruling party UDPS who died on Saturday according to his party.

Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza died after a "short illness" in Angola, where he was hospitalized, according to a statement released by the secretary-general of the National Union of Congolese Federalists Mukalay Lama.

"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.

Until his death, Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza, nicknamed "Baba wa Katanga", was president of the provincial assembly of Katanga, a position he acquired in February.

A teacher by profession, he first appeared on the public scene in 1965 as a trade unionist, representing his profession.

He was then elected as a member of parliament and was also one of the 13 famous parliamentarians arrested in the early 1980s under the regime of the authoritarian late Mobutu because of their political opinions.

Subsequently, he was appointed twice as governor of the great Katanga by Mobutu and then, under the presidency of Laurent Kabila between 1997 and 2001, and ambassador of the DRCongo to the United Arab Emirates.

Under Joseph Kabila (2001-2019), he was twice president of the provincial assembly of Greater Katanga (a mineral-rich region divided into four provinces - Tanganyika, Haut-Lomami, Lualaba and Haut-Katanga - in 2015).

A champion of federalism, Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza was also a founder of the UDPS (Union for Democracy and Social Progress), an opposition party created under Mobutu and currently the ruling party under President Felix Tshisekedi.