DRC: Who’s who in Patrick Muyaya’s network of influential advisors

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Thursday, 27 January 2022 08:30

Throughout his political career, the DRC’s communication minister Patrick Muyaya has built up a solid network, which he continues to rely on in his new role.

39-year-old Patrick Muyaya is one of the youngest faces in the Congolese government. Appointed communication minister on 12 April 2021, he is the spokesperson for the team led by Prime Minister Sama Lukonde Kyenge. He is also the youngest minister to hold this position since Didier Mumengi in 1998.

The man who has made ‘changing the narrative’ around the DRC his main slogan has a lot to do. This elected member of the Parti Lumumbiste Unifié (Palu) has represented the Kinshasa province since 2011 – at the time, he was the youngest member of the National Assembly. From the state of siege to the Ugandan intervention in the east and preparing for the next presidential election, he now has the task of defending the activities of the first government of the Union Sacrée, Felix Tshisekedi’s new coalition.

A journalist by training, he began his career at Cebs TV, a media outlet based in Kinshasa, before becoming an adviser to Antoine Gizenga, prime minister from 2006 to 2008, and then to Adolphe Muzito, Gizenga’s successor. President of the Jeunes Parlementaires since 2016, Muyaya has relied on a vast network composed of family members, ministers, advisers and diplomats for years.

This key member of the palace is his main contact within the presidential cabinet. Fortunat Biselele wears several strategic hats. As a private adviser to Tshisekedi, he is also in charge of the head of state’s private office, which oversees the civil house and joint office – two key structures.

Muyaya met this former member of the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie (RCD) during the so-called 1+4 transition period (2003-2006). At that time, Biselele was working as an adviser to the vice-presidency, in charge of the political, defence and security commission. The two remain in close contact and regularly discuss the country’s political situation.

Sama Lukonde Kyenge

Before he was appointed prime minister in February 2021, this ally of Dany Banza, Tshisekedi’s ambassador-at-large, was the director-general of Gécamines and already one of Muyaya’s close friends.

The two men met through his brother, Hervé Moj Ndumb. They have been rubbing shoulders for many years and frequent the same exclusive places in Kinshasa, such as the La Gombe golf club.

Aimé Molendo Sakombi

The current minister of land affairs – a member of the Union pour la Nation Congolaise (UNC), Vital Kamerhe’s party – is one of the ministers closest to the government spokesman. The two met in 2005, when Muyaya was still a journalist at Cebs.

Since then, they have always worked together. Aimé Molendo Sakombi comes from an influential family. He is the son of Dominique Sakombi, a minister under Kabila senior and junior, and the brother of Michael Sakombi, Mongala’s former special commissioner, and close associate of the National Assembly’s former president, Jeanine Mabunda, who Muyaya used to support.

Hervé Moj Ndumb

In 2012, Muyaya met Kyenge and Banza through his older brother Hervé Moj Ndumb. At the time, Ndumb was in regular contact with the two men through Muyaya’s communications company, Picture Management and Consulting.

Today, he is one of the main collaborators of the prime minister, with whom he has worked for many years. Ndumb was already serving as the latter’s cabinet director when he was Kabila’s minister of sports. Tshisekedi then appointed him as administrator of the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo (SNCC).

Adolphe Muzito

Martin Fayulu’s partner in Lamuka, Adolphe Muzito, is the current government spokesperson’s father-in-law. Their meeting in parliament dates back to the transition period (2003-2006), at the very beginning of the now minister’s journalistic career.

At the time, Muzito, a member of the Parti Lumumbiste Unifié (Palu), of which Muyaya is now a member, asked him to cover the activities of the political group led by Gizenga. A few years later, Muyaya entered politics, first as an adviser to Gizenga during the latter’s time as prime minister (2006-2008), then alongside Muzito, who was prime minister from 2008 to 2012.

Adam Chalwe Munkutu

A leader of the Parti du Peuple pour la Reconstruction et la Démocratie (PPRD), Kabila’s party, of which he was one of the national secretaries, Adam Chalwe Munkutu is one of the minister’s close friends, despite his political opposition to President Tshisekedi.

At the time, Munkutu was an adviser to Aubin Minaku Ndjalandjoko, the president of the National Assembly. He then became Muyaya’s focal point when the latter undertook to establish a network of young parliamentarians. They kept in touch and worked together on some projects. As Munkutu owns a television station, Malaika, Muyaya is his minister.

 

Elvis Mutiri wa Bashara

Elvis Mutiri wa Bashara, a national deputy for Goma in North Kivu, has been a member of the Union Sacrée since 2006 and is a close friend of the minister. They met in 2007, thanks to Jacques Mbadu, Central Kongo’s former governor, who is now deceased.

Mutiri was Mbadu’s partner in Figepar, a consultancy firm they co-managed. A former journalist, just like the government spokesman, he also held a ministerial post. During Kabila’s second term in office, he managed the tourism portfolio. In 2011, North Kivu’s elected representative was Muyaya’s wedding sponsor.

Mike Hammer 

The ubiquitous US ambassador to the DRC is one of the diplomats to whom the Congolese minister is closest. The two men talk regularly, as the US is very involved in Tshisekedi’s administration.

Muyaya also maintains good relations with J. Peter Pham. The former US special envoy for the Great Lakes region, who was in office between 2018 and 2020, has maintained close contact with the Tshisekedi administration. Today, he remains active on the diplomatic front and closely monitors the mining contracts audit.

Godefroid Mayobo Mpwene Ngantien, secretary-general and Palu’s spokesperson, has put all his weight behind the fact that Muyaya took his party’s position within Kyenge’s government.

Although the late Gizenga’s party had been going through a difficult succession dispute for many years, Mayobo signalled Palu’s support for the Union Sacrée, while Kabila’s camp –  and in particular Jaynet Kabila, the former president’s twin sister – tried to mediate.

Eric Tshikuma Mwimbayi is an economic journalist, business manager and communication consultant. He is one of Muyaya’s closest and most discreet collaborators, and has known him for over 20 years.

Head of Zoom Eco media, he previously worked at RTVS1, the television channel owned by Muzito. He is now Muyaya’s deputy in the National Assembly and has occupied the current minister’s seat since the latter’s appointment.

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