hush hush

DRC: What you need to know about former spy boss Kalev Mutond

By Romain Gras

Posted on February 28, 2020 10:17

Kalev Mutond, former director of the ANR
Kalev Mutond, former director of the ANR © Saad for JA

Here are ten things to know about Kalev Mutond’s career.

READ MORE: Kalev Mutond, former spy boss, arrested for illegal passport

1. Rebel

A Katangese man, he began his career as a simple intelligence agent, sitting on a bench in front of the United States Embassy in Kinshasa, and writing the identity of visitors in a notebook.

In 1996, he joined the ranks of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (AFDL), Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s rebellion.

2. Loyal

© Former Congolese President Joseph Kabila has always felt more comfortable in this private Noah’s Ark than in the anarchic Kinshasa. © Colin Delfosse for GJA

It was in the ranks of the rebels that Kalev Mutond met Joseph Kabila.

An clos of the latter (some members of the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) even attribute him with a pioneering role in the creation of the ruling party), he has remained in the first circle of the former president, to whom he often asserts his loyalty.

3. Record taker

© Kalev Mutond, former head of the National Intelligence Agency. © John Bompengo

Director of Internal Security at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) since 2007, he became its deputy head in October 2011, and remained there for nearly eight years – longer than his seven predecessors.

He was replaced in 2019 by his deputy, Inzun Kakiak.

4. Feared

© “Lucha, Chronicle of a Revolution without Weapons in Congo” by Justine Brabant and Annick Kamgang (Amnesty International / La Boîte à Bulles, 2018).

“Jovial” and “hard-working” for some, “brutal” and “repressive” for others, Mutond was for a long time one of the most feared men in the country, particularly by civil society movements such as Filimbi and La Lucha, whom he readily described as “terrorists”.

5. Friends in Paris?

In 2017, after the United States adopted a series of sanctions in which he was targeted, the European Union was reluctant to follow suit.

Some diplomats accused France of wanting to preserve a key interlocutor in the run-up to the elections, which Paris has always denied.

6. Sanctions

Kalev Mutond, former Director of ANR

In May 2017 Brussels decided to place him under sanction. In total, 15 people close to Kabila — some politicians but mostly generals -— were singled out. The reasons put forward were the obstruction of the electoral process and human rights violations.

7. Emissary

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi arrive at the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali on March 26, accompanied by Togo's Faure Gnassingbé and Ethiopia's Sahle-Work Zewde.

© Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi arrive at the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali on March 26, accompanied by Togo’s Faure Gnassingbé and Ethiopia’s Sahle-Work Zewde. DR / presidency Rwanda

On 18 January 2019, as the African Union contested Felix Tshisekedi’s victory, he travelled to Kigali with Paul Kagame, the organisation’s current president to prepare the way. The Rwandan head of state was due to lead an AU mission to Kinshasa three days later, but after Mutond’s visit, the trip was cancelled, and the elections were validated.

8. Ambitious

In early 2019, there were rumours he was planning to run for governor of Lualaba, a wealthy province that emerged from the dismantling of Greater Katanga in 2015.

He denied it.

9. Prime minister’s office

Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, with President Félix Tshisekedi, on 20 May.

© Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, with President Félix Tshisekedi, on 20 May. © DRC Presidency

Since Kabila’s departure he has worked as a political adviser to Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, the recently appointed Prime Minister.

It was in this capacity that he travelled to Uganda before being arrested in mid-February.

There was no official order appointing Mutond to this office.

10. Accusations

Mutond is accused of having links with the former M23 rebels and of wanting to destabilise the state institutions.

He has been banned from leaving the country and his diplomatic passport has been withdrawn.

READ MORE: Mutond, ex-spy chief, hits back after arrest

He contests these accusations and is supported by Kabila’s coalition, the Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC).

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