Biography of Jean-Pierre Bemba (His Date Of Birth, His family)
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Bemba was given birth to on the 4th of November, 1962 in Bokada, Nord-Ubangi. His father, Jeannot Bemba Saolona, was a successful businessman who worked with former Zairian President, Mobutu Sese Seko. In 1998, Bemba began the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC), a rebel group turned political party in the Orientale Province of the DRC. The movement gradually moved into the Équateur province and established a permanent base in Gbadolite which had been destroyed by war and had its population living in abject poverty.
Social assistance was entirely abandoned in Équateur, and the population was under constant threat of bombing by government forces. When the MLC troops arrived in Gbadolite, they secured the area and protected its population. After security was guaranteed, health centres and hospitals were reopened, and medical supplies were provided. The MLC worked with NGOs and the United Nations to reopen schools, restart agriculture, improve economic activity, and resume exportations of goods such as coffee, corn. Life was gradually getting back to normal in Gbadolite. Bemba was one of the 33 candidates who ran in the Congolese presidential election on the 30th of July, 2006.
He adopted the campaign slogan, “One Hundred Percent Congolese,” which was widely perceived as an attack on frontrunner president, Joseph Kabila. Fortunately for Bemba, he got some support from the Lingala-speaking portion of the country, including Kinshasa, the capital.Tension rose during the elections until the results were announced on the 20th of August Kabila won 44% of the vote, while Bemba won 20%.
A day after the announcement of the first election results, 14 ambassadors of the International Committee in charge of the transition were on a trip with Bemba.The team included ambassadors from the United States of America, Britain, France, Belgium, among others. There was an attempted assassination against them, however, it failed.There was a second round of elections on the 29th of October. The electoral commission announced the official results on the 15th of November, and named Kabila the winner with 58.05% of the vote.
Bemba’s supporters believed that the elections were rigged. On the 27th of November, 2006, the Supreme Court of the DRC rejected the fraud charges pressed by Bemba`s supporters.The court confirmed Kabila as the new elected Congolese president, and a day later, Bemba announced his disagreement with the court’s decision.Kabila’s swearing-in ceremony was on the 6th of December, however, Bemba did not attend. Two days after the swearing-in, the MLC announced that Bemba would run for a Senate seat from Kinshasa in the January 2007 senatorial election.
He did run and succeeded.There was a second assassination attempt against Bemba in March 2007, just after a fight began near his residence. A number of people were killed, soldiers inclusive. He called for a ceasefire and held negotiation meetings in the South African embassy, but fighting continued. There was an announcement on the 23rd of March that Bemba had been accused of treason and a warrant for his arrest had been issued. Although he enjoyed immunity as a senator, the country’s chief prosecutor asked the parliament to strip him of it.
Later that month, Bemba said he was travelling to Portugal to treat his broken leg, although he had received treatment for it in previous months. He eventually left with his wife and children, and it was obvious that the trip was not really about his broken leg.After the outbreak of violence in March, Bemba’s party, the MLC, claimed that the government targeted its members through arrests and intimidation, and that its headquarters was occupied by government forces.
On the 13th of April, the party suspended its participation in the National Assembly due to the alleged intimidation and insecurity. In the first half of June, there was a report that Bemba would not return to the DRC,and Without the Senate’s permission to be absent, he would be subject to the automatic dethrone if not present from over a quarter of Senate sessions, unless the absences were justified. On the 15th of June, the Senate extended the period of Bemba’s permitted absence, giving him till the 31st of July, fulfilling a request from Bemba in a letter he sent on the 12th of June, asking for more time.
In that letter, he expressed his readiness to return and take part in politics, but also expressed concerns about his safety. By November 2007, he still did not return. He went to Belgium instead, and met with Belgian Foreign Minister, Karel De Gucht on the 5th of November. In an interview sometime in March, Bemba alleged that he was in forced exile and that it seemed the government was moving towards a dictatorship. On the 23rd of May 2008, a Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC issued a sealed warrant for his arrest on matters pertaining to war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Central African Republic between the 25th of October, 2002 and the 15th of March, 2003.
He was charged with five counts of war crimes namely murder, rape, torture, pillaging, and outrages upon personal nobility; and three counts of crimes against humanity which were murder, rape. Bemba was arrested near Brussels on the 24th of May, 2008. He was surrendered to the ICC on the 3rd of July, 2008 and transferred to its detention center in the Hague. He was the only person arrested in connection with the ICC’s investigation in the Central African Republic. On the 8th of July, 2009, he was granted a temporary release to attend his father’s funeral in Brussels. On the 2nd of December, 2009, the ICC ruled that Bemba was a flight risk and must remain in custody until his trial. On the 21st of June, 2016, the ICC sentenced Bemba to 18 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by his Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC). Later in March 2017, he was sentenced to another year and fined 300,000 Euros by the ICC for interfering with witnesses in his trial.