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Shadary: Loyal hardliner and anointed successor to DR Congo’s Kabila

Capture Facebook | Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary is Congolese President Joseph Kabila's designated successor.

With December’s presidential elections approaching, Congolese President Joseph Kabila declined to seek another term on Wednesday. He named Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary as his successor – a man well known to the Congolese as Kabila’s number two.

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Shadary describes himself on his official website as “the man for difficult situations”.

One such situation is surely to be December 23’s elections, in which he is likely to face off against former Vice President and warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba, who returned to the country on August 1 after being acquitted by the International Criminal Court on charges of murder, rape and pillaging.

>> Read more: Former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba returns to DR Congo for presidential bid

Shadary rose to the fore in December 2017, when Kabila bolstered his power by his ally Deputy Prime Minister and interior minister, as well as permanent secretary of the ruling People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) – a post Kabila created specifically for Shadary.

Barred from seeking a third term under DR Congo’s constitution, Kabila has been in power since he succeeded his father Laurent-Désiré Kabila when the latter was assassinated in 2001.

Among political allies, Shadary calls himself “Mr coup on top of coup”. In his online biography, he insists that this nickname comes from his days studying social and political sciences at the University of Lubumbashi in the 1980s.

However, in an article last March, news magazine Jeune Afrique traced the nickname to the Congolese government’s violent repression of anti-Kabila demonstrations in December 2017 and January 2018, in which several protesters were killed.

Indeed, the EU seems to view Shadary’s political record in a negative light: he was one of several Congolese officials targeted by EU sanctions for human rights violations, introduced in 2017.

Shadary “is responsible for the recent arrests of activists and opposition members, as well as the disproportionate use of force", the EU said in its executive decision in May 2017, adding he was "therefore involved in planning, directing, or committing acts that constitute serious human rights violations in DRC".

Shadary certainly has a grand sense of destiny. His website says that on the day of his birth in 1960, “five months after Belgian Congo gained independence”, the midwife exclaimed, “he will be very sharp, very intelligent”.

This article was adapted from the original in French

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