Politician killed in foiled DRC coup Christian Malanga

Ranga Mataire Zimpapers Politics Hub

A Congolese politician and his United States business partner in mining and cannabis businesses in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were the masterminds of a foiled coup in the early hours of yesterday.

Christian Malanga (41), leader of the US-based United Congolese Party, was shot dead in a gun battle as his armed gang of less than 20 men tried to force entry into the Palais de la Nation, the official residence of President Felix Tshisekedi.

Malanga’s partner in crime is Benjamin Zalman-Polun from Maryland (US) — a known cannabis businessman.

The two were also partners in mining ventures and the lucrative electronic cigarette liquids sector.

Zalman-Polun was one of those arrested alongside Malanga’s 20-year-old son in the failed coup, which the plotters live streamed on Malanga’s Facebook page.

So daring were Malanga’s gang that they took over the official residence of President Tshisekedi and started chanting slogans calling for a “New Zaire”. Zaire was the name given to the DRC during 1971-1997 and had a different national flag than the current one.

In his social media live broadcast, Malanga said he was “a problem solver” coming to clear political challenges facing the mineral-rich country, which has known little peace since independence from Belgium on June 30, 1960.

Close government sources told Zimpapers Politics Hub that Malanga and his gang just managed to enter and ransack the President’s private office.

DRC armed forces spokesperson, General Slyvain Ekenge, said in a televised statement that the coup had been neutralised.

President Tshisekedi won a second term in December last year against the backdrop of increasing insecurity in the eastern part of the country.

The DRC has remained conflict-ridden since gaining independence in 1960 with various armed groups mushrooming in some parts of the country especially the Eastern part.

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