"Kabila had no agenda except power," says TIME reporter Clive Mutiso. "He spent almost 30 years in opposition and Mobutu's demise took him completely by surprise. Once he achieved power he didn't know what to do with it." It was his failure to clamp down on Hutu rebels using eastern Congo as a base from which to attack Rwanda that prompted Kabila's erstwhile sponsors to seek his ouster. "When Kabila last week began recruiting 12-year-olds to fight off these seasoned, well-trained, well-equipped fighters, it was clear that he had little chance of holding the capital," says Mutiso. The good news: Back in Lubumbashi, Kabila can now restart his career as a professional revolutionary.
Laurent Kabila was a lot better at fighting the government than at running it, which is why the same rebel army that swept him to power 18 months ago now appears to have driven him out of the capital. As the Rwandan-backed forces driving towards Kinshasa cut the capital's electricity supply, the Associated Press reported Friday that Kabila had retreated to the southern city of Lubumbashi.