Movement for the Liberation of the Congo
|The 2006 Presidential election candidate||Jean-Pierre Bemba|
|Founded||April 5, 2003|
|Headquarters||6, Avenue du Port, Gombe, Kinshasa|
|Seats in the National Assembly||
64 / 500
|Seats in the Senate||
14 / 108
The Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (French: Mouvement pour la Liberation du Congo) is a political party in Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was a rebel group operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo that fought the government throughout the Second Congo War. It subsequently took part in the transitional government and is now the main opposition party. It is often referred to by its original French name Mouvement de Libération du Congo and sometimes Mouvement de Libération Congolais.
During the war, the MLC was backed by the government of Uganda and controlled much of the north of the country, in particular the province of Équateur. It is led by former businessman Jean-Pierre Bemba, who became vice-president following the 2002 peace agreement. The town of Gbadolite is the headquarters of the MLC. The MLC was the primary instrument of Uganda during the war, as the Rally for Congolese Democracy was dominated by Rwanda. As part of the Inter-Congolese dialogue, Brig-Gen Malik Kijege of the MLC was named head of military logistics, while Maj-Gen Dieudonné Amuli Bahigwa was named head of the navy. Two of the DRC's ten military districts were also given to the MLC, and Bemba was allowed to appoint and dismiss the foreign minister of the DRC.
Bemba, as the MLC candidate, came second in the 2006 presidential election, and the party gained 64 out of 500 seats in the parliament - the second highest number for any political party. In the 19 January 2007 Senate elections, the party won 14 out of 108 seats.
Fighting broke out in Kinshasa in March 2007 between the army and Bemba's guards, who were supposed to have been integrated into the army but had not been due to what were said to be concerns about Bemba's security. The army prevailed in the fighting, and Bemba took refuge in the South African embassy. On April 8, the MLC released a statement in which it said that its headquarters had been occupied by government forces since the fighting and that it was being persecuted through arbitrary arrests and intimidation. On April 13, the party suspended its participation in the National Assembly (but not in the Senate) due to what it described as a "climate of permanent insecurity". This came shortly after the alleged looting of the home of a MLC member of parliament by government forces. On April 21, the party was allowed access to its previously-occupied buildings in the capital, which were found to have been plundered. On April 25, the party ended its boycott of the National Assembly after Kabila agreed to meet with representatives of the opposition.
Following the killing of Daniel Botethi, a member of the MLC who was serving as Vice-President of the Provincial Assembly of Kinshasa, the MLC announced on July 6, 2008 that it was suspending its participation in the National Assembly, the Senate, and the Provincial Assembly of Kinshasa. The MLC ended this boycott after a week.
- "Bemba fighters 'surrender'", Associated Press (IOL), March 28, 2007.
- "DRC opposition party hits out at government", AFP (IOL), April 9, 2007.
- "Bemba's party concerned about security", Reuters (IOL), April 14, 2007.
- "RDCongo: les députés de Bemba réintègrent le siège saccagé de leur parti", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), April 21, 2007 (French).
- Joe Bavier, "Bemba's MLC returns to parliament", Reuters (IOL), April 26, 2007.
- "RDCongo: retour à l'Assemblée des députés de Bemba, rencontre avec Kabila jeudi", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), April 25, 2007.
- "The MLC suspends its participation in the National Assembly and the Senate", Le Potentiel (congoplanet.com), July 7, 2008.
- Franz Wild, "Congo Murder Accused Alleges Governor Ordered Hit, Lawyer Says", Bloomberg.com, July 18, 2008.
- President names top officers for unified national military, 20 August 2003
- MLC, official website
- U.S. State Department, 04KINSHASA1753 FARDC on the move in Eastern DRC, 17 September 2004. Use of ex-MLC troops from Gbadolite in South Kivu.