According to his lawyer, Jean-Marc Kabund, a former right-hand man to the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and current opposition leader, was detained on Tuesday amid controversy over a comment he made about his former employer.
After a disagreement with President Felix Tshisekedi earlier this year, the former vice president of parliament and current MP founded his own political party.
He has been the subject of an inquiry in recent weeks for unnamed charges.
According to his attorneys, he was charged of contempt of the head of state after labeling him “a risk” in a speech.
After a hearing at the attorney general’s office on Tuesday, according to Kabund’s counsel Henriette Bongwalanga, he was taken into custody.
“They did not respect the procedure. Today they came after the hearing and (arrested) him despite his (parliamentary) immunity,” she said.
A representative for the government declined to comment, and the justice ministry could not be reached for comment. According to a police source, Kabund was sent to Kinshasa’s Makala Central Prison.
Kabund played a significant role in Tshisekedi’s ascent to power, and their breakup has revealed new leadership flaws.
As the 2023 presidential election draws closer, this could portend trouble for the Sacred Union coalition’s future, according to political analysts.
In a statement regarding the proceedings last week, Kabund said that the inquiry into him was evidence of the use of Congolese institutions for political purposes.
“Fighting the Tshisekedi regime is an absolute necessity for me, no matter the price to be paid,” he wrote on Twitter.