DRC: 10 things to know about Alphonse Kaputo Kalubi, the new Gécamines boss

By Romain Gras, Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala
Posted on Tuesday, 1 February 2022 15:49

Alphonse Kaputo Kalubi, who succeeded Albert Yuma as head of Gécamines, DRC © DR

Alphonse Kaputo Kalubi’s recent appointment ended the reign of Albert Yuma, an ally of Joseph Kabila and the emblematic boss of the powerful state mining company Gécamines. The new chairman is well connected to the DRC's elite, as was his predecessor.

1. Katangan

Like Albert Yuma, who headed of Gécamines for 11 years, Alphonse Kaputo Kalubi is a Katangan. He was born in Lubumbashi and comes from the territory of Kasenga (Haut-Katanga). The company is historically important in this large mining region.

2. Network

Although he knows Félix Tshisekedi well, the new Gécamines chairman has a close relationship with Sama Lukonde Kyenge, who was the company’s general manager until he became prime minister in February 2021. The latter also strongly supported his appointment.

3. Anti-Yuma

His relations with Yuma were reputedly icy. The two men disagreed on many issues, especially Gécamines’ strategic orientations. Kalubi was even sidelined from day-to-day management, despite the fact that he was on the board of directors. This enmity worked in his favour when the head of state wanted to replace Yuma.

4. Institutional support

Kalubi can count on Bester-Hilaire Ntambwe Ngoy Kabongo’s support. A former deputy director-general of Gécamines, he acted as interim director-general when Kyenge took over as executive director and has since been confirmed as director-general. He wasn’t on good terms with Yuma either. However, he is close to the prime minister and his right-hand man, Leon Mwine, and has good relations with Tshisekedi.

5. On familiar ground

Born in 1953, Kalubi graduated with a degree in earth sciences and mineralogy from the Université Nationale du Zaïre and has been part of the ‘company’ for nearly 40 years. He has steadily risen up the ladder and occupied the strategic position of director of geology.

6. Re-industrialise

According to close associates, he is in favour of reindustrialising the country and increasing the company’s stakes in projects. He is the only member of Gécamines staff who has the right to veto decisions.

7. ‘Congo Hold Up’

Kalubi’s appointment has a very particular context. Cited on numerous occasions in the various parts of the ‘Congo Hold Up’ investigation, Yuma was also in the sights of the Inspection Générale des Finances. A report on his management is expected soon.

8. Cobalt

A member of his entourage claims that Kalubi is not in favour of continuing the activities of Entreprise Générale du Cobalt (EGC), a subsidiary of Gécamines launched in April 2021. Supported by Trafigura, the Swiss commodities trading giant, the EGC is still chaired by Yuma.

9. Not a Sinophile

Although Tshisekedi has undertaken a review of mining contracts, particularly those that his predecessor signed with China, various collaborators of the new chairman of the board of directors assure us that he is opposed to the Chinese investors’ omnipresence and that he supports Tshisekedi’s decision to launch audits. This marks a departure from Yuma, a Sinophile.

10. Audit

Last August, Kalubi and Kabongo were part of the commission of inquiry that the presidency tasked with evaluating how the Tenke Fungurume Mining project, which is 80% owned by China Molybdenum Co., benefits Gécamines.

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