Léonard She Okitundu is one of President Joseph Kabila’s three Deputy Prime Ministers (IB Times, 10.05.2017). As the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Okitundu is tasked with the almost impossible job of reconciling the Kinshasa regime with an international community that is becoming increasingly impatient of Kabila’s continued attempts to remain in power.

Viewed as one of the most influential people in Kabila’s inner circle, Okitundu is an expert in diplomacy and has great connections with the outside world, thus making him a serious power player in Kinshasa.

Notably, in the first six months of 2017, Okitundu embarked on more than thirty "official missions" abroad on behalf of President Kabila – who travels very little – with mixed results (Congo Synthese, 12.06.2017). As international support for Kabila continues to decline, ongoing political uncertainty is exacerbating the already fragile investment environment in the DRC.

Key Points

  • As international pressure mounts on President Joseph Kabila to step down following elections scheduled for December 2018, Congolese diplomacy appears to be in the hands of one man – Léonard She Okitundu – a longterm Kabila ally.
  • Appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in December 2016, Okitundu has spent the past 18 months touring the capitals of the world in search of economic and diplomatic support on behalf of the Kabila regime (Africa is a Country, 03.08.0217).
  • While his efforts appear to have paid off somewhat on his home continent, the west thus far remains unmoved, as many western powers continue to insist that Kabila adhere to the agreed electoral calendar and make way for a successor following elections in December 2018.