This Belgian politician is accused of conspiring to overthrow Congo’s government

He’s got a winning smile, but the Democratic Republic of Congo isn’t laughing. Belgian member of parliament Laurent Louis, pictured above, was accused of conspiring to overthrow the Congolese government on Friday in an alleged plot that included the assassination of Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila. The bizarre story centers on a Belgian doctor named Jean-Pierre ...

611870_screen_shot_2013-03-22_at_3.58.40_pm2.jpg
611870_screen_shot_2013-03-22_at_3.58.40_pm2.jpg

He's got a winning smile, but the Democratic Republic of Congo isn't laughing.

He’s got a winning smile, but the Democratic Republic of Congo isn’t laughing.

Belgian member of parliament Laurent Louis, pictured above, was accused of conspiring to overthrow the Congolese government on Friday in an alleged plot that included the assassination of Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila.

The bizarre story centers on a Belgian doctor named Jean-Pierre Kanku Mukendi and an ex-cop named Isidore Madimba Mongombe who were arrested last month before confessing to the plot. Mukendi and Mongombe claim Louis was also involved in the conspiracy, which included "small quantity of weapons" and the goal of assassinating Kabila. Reuters has the details:

"(Mukendi) admitted that this plan to attack the city of Kinshasa and physically eliminate the head of state was adopted at a large meeting presided by himself on January 20 in Kinshasa," he said.

Muyej claimed Mukendi had, while living in Belgium, founded a group called "Mouvement Debout Congolais", or the Arise Congolese Movement, with the assistance of a member of Belgium’s Chamber of Representatives.

"With the help of the Belgian member of parliament Laurent Louis, he increased his meetings with Congolese compatriots … in the aim of preparing and finalizing their project to overthrow (Congo’s) institutions," he said.

Louis admitted to Reuters that he opposed Congo’s ruling party, but denied any role in attempting to overthrow the government. "I am opposed to violence … What’s more, these meetings were totally public. There weren’t any secret meetings to plot this or that," he said.

So at this point, it’s Louis’s word against the Congolese government’s. Details about this toothy-grinned Belgian are slim. According to Congolese reports from the last year (translated through Google Translate), Laurent has consistently opposed Kabila’s leadership. In the biography on his website, he says he was born in 1980 and learned "respect of certain values such as hard work, respect and justice." The only mention of Congo is in a section about his fondest memory: Meeting Étienne Tshisekedi, a longtime Congolese opposition leader and former prime minister of the country (formerly called Zaire). Time to hire a lawyer?

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows the Statue of Liberty holding a torch with other hands alongside hers as she lifts the flame, also resembling laurel, into place on the edge of the United Nations laurel logo.
An illustration shows the Statue of Liberty holding a torch with other hands alongside hers as she lifts the flame, also resembling laurel, into place on the edge of the United Nations laurel logo.

A New Multilateralism

How the United States can rejuvenate the global institutions it created.

A view from the cockpit shows backlit control panels and two pilots inside a KC-130J aerial refueler en route from Williamtown to Darwin as the sun sets on the horizon.
A view from the cockpit shows backlit control panels and two pilots inside a KC-130J aerial refueler en route from Williamtown to Darwin as the sun sets on the horizon.

America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want

Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, seen in a suit and tie and in profile, walks outside the venue at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Behind him is a sculptural tree in a larger planter that appears to be leaning away from him.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, seen in a suit and tie and in profile, walks outside the venue at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Behind him is a sculptural tree in a larger planter that appears to be leaning away from him.

The Endless Frustration of Chinese Diplomacy

Beijing’s representatives are always scared they could be the next to vanish.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomes Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman during an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on June 22, 2022.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomes Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman during an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on June 22, 2022.

The End of America’s Middle East

The region’s four major countries have all forfeited Washington’s trust.