Officially, he stepped down in January 2019, retiring after 18 years at the helm of the biggest country in sub-Saharan Africa.
But nearly 18 months on, former president Joseph Kabila remains a powerful figure, wielding influence in the murky politics of the Democratic Republic of Congo through a network of followers and a forced coalition with his successor.
“Kabila, come back quickly so we can restore order,” his supporters chanted on recently as they marched in Kinshasa, where the coalition with backers of President Felix Tshisekedi is in trouble and heads are rolling.
Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga has publicly denounced a decision by Tshisekedi to replace two pillars of the former Kabila regime: the army’s inspector general and the president of the Constitutional Court.
Kabila handed the presidency to Tshisekedi after elections in December 2018, in the first peaceful transfer of power since independence from Belgium nearly 60 years earlier.
Still only 49 despite his years at the top, Kabila lives on a farm at Kingakati, 80 kilometres from the capital, surrounded by wildlife ranging from lions to antelopes.