Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Friday, November 18, 2011

Selling the state: Kinshasa loses up to $5,5 billion in assets

The British parliamentarian released a statement yesterday suggesting that the Congo had lost up to $5,5 billion in state assets through the undervaluation of mining concessions. Eric Joyce, who is head of his legislature's Great Lakes working group, backed up his allegation with a raft of documents from the Congo, the British Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom.

Those of you following this blog and the excellent reporting published by Bloomberg (which is quoted here) will not find it surprising that assets have been undervalued. It is the person making the claim, however, that raises eyebrows - as does his direct accusation of Joseph Kabila, the IMF and (somewhat less direct) Israeli businessman Dan Gertler. Plus, for the first time a concrete figure has been put to the fire sale of Congolese mines.

$5,5 billion. That is over 80% of the country's entire budget. It is also far more than the 3,1 billion in foreign aid the country receives a year.

The statement singles out the IMF, which provided a $551 million credit line to the Congolese government in return for reforms and greater transparency, especially in the mining sector. Joyce does not mince his words: "The IMF has not been firm enough with the DRC government and has allowed the presidents and his advisors to run rings around them." He calls on his own government to hold the IMF to account "and to end this scandal."

The modus operandi is by now well known: Congolese mining concessions are sold at prices a fraction of their real value to mysterious shell companies in the British Virgin Islands. In the past four years, at least 45 such companies have been involved in purchases from the Congo. Joyce has documents for nine of these outfits. The sales he is able to document pertain to four major mining concessions (see below) - they were sold for less than 5% of their market price. Three of these concessions, worth $3,6 billion, were sold to companies linked to Dan Gertler.

"These transactions were not disclosed by the DRC government. None of these asset sales were put out to public tender. None of the BVI companies have any known track-record of expertise in the mining or resource sectors."

This is big news that should have a serious impact on budgetary aid to the Congo and in donors' attitudes in general.

95 comments:

Anand said...

Very interesting. I wonder if this news will have an effect on the election. Will opposition candidates use this to attack Kabila? Is there enough time to use this in their campaigns?

Anonymous said...

Interesting to know what sort of man this Joyce is.

Joyce was the top-claiming Member of the House of Commons for the 2005–06 Parliamentary Session, claiming £174,811 in expenses.[1] After the 2005–06 Parliamentary Session, he made a public pledge to cut his expenses. Subsequently, during the 2006–07 Parliamentary Session, he moved down to 11th on the list of MPs' expenses and allowances. However, he once again rose to the top of the expenses list for the 2007–08 Parliamentary Sssion with £187,334.[2]

Joyce was the first MP to claim more than £1 million cumulatively in expenses.[3] I In May 2009, tabloids reported Joyce was seeking advice from HM Revenue and Customs regarding £40,000 in unpaid capital gains tax on the sale of his London home, which he had designated as his second home under the Second Homes Allowance scheme.

1: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2006/oct/27/uk.houseofcommons
2 : http://news.stv.tv/politics/85472-scottish-mps-are-top-claimants-for-expenses/
3 : http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/103251/-1m-MP-faces-big-payout

Anonymous said...

Well, I am not sure its news that Labor are profilifate spenders and irresposible with the public purse.

In any event, when I read this yesterday I had quite a few reactions. Outside of the novelty picking the target here, the IMF, which is fairly interesting, I tried to place myself in the shoes of a policy maker in the West:

- is it really a surprise this gov't is corrupt to the bone?
- what is truly behind these deals? it is the basic corruption one always deals with African governments? an insurance plan for the regime in case it gets the boot?
- how would China react to efforts to discpline the Congolese?
- who benefits from this expose so close to an election that is looking increasingly like it may end in some pretty severe violence?
- Why haven’t the so called “opposition” spoken out against these deals or made it an issue in the election? Can we trust them given they haven’t?
- Given the Cameron's government’s increasing intensity towards Africans (see the gay debate, Libya, etc) and the stiff resistance Africans have displayed with his heavy-handedness, how much leverage would the UK really have here?
- What are the options before policy makers? Reinstate conditionality? Sanctioning the Kabila regime which may not be in place in the next few days or, if it is, under attack from within? (and god please not from without)
- Given the euro crisis, would the IMF and World Bank be willing to either pressure or cutoff the Congolese- a paying if venal client- at this point?

I could go on but I think I've made my point. This story has been bubbling for a while now and so the "news" here is that a parliamentary group in the House of Commons is clearly in pursuit, they’ve gotten more info than Kavanagh over at Bloomberg, and their target is the IMF. If this starts to make more headlines and shows up in papers like the Washington Post/NY Times- real influencers of policy makers- and then perhaps "Foriegn Policy" then I'd start to worry if I was a card carrying member of the Kabila cartel.

Others have argued on this blog that it really is time for the Congolese to get real serious about corruption. The world still reels from the financial crisis and we have conservatives taking power in most of the nations that supply the Congolese with nearly all forms of aid. Those conservatives are dead serious about cutting budgets to the bone. If you are American, that seriousness was so aggressive is nature that they were willing to force a default on American debt and thus rile the world economy if their demands were not met.

(cont below)

Anonymous said...

(the rest)

And the we all know what a Perry Presidency would mean for aid: "Foriegn aid starts at zero, even Israel"

Now, if I were a Congolese nationalist, which I like to consider myself, I’d probably have a reaction akin to this: “Oh I see. So the West, who are complicit in our nation’s financial situation and looked the other way while a Dictator and a foriegn nation raped our land, now all of a sudden want some accountability from the very same interests that continues to support a regime that has failed our people? To hell with you!” Indeed, while Kabila is certainly not the smartest bloak on the block, he is very shrewd politically and could use this to his advantage as the polls approach. There is nothing like blaming the “international community” for an African leader these days.

Given all this context, we'll see how this evolves. I personally doubt it will go far given the West's sense that rebuilding the Congo is a near impossible or frightentingly too expensive a task and that Kabila, in spite of his sheer incompetence, is, paraxodically, the only person the West trusts to keep the Congo from distengrating. Sure, its a cynical belief but we all know that's what they think.

Thus, in the final analysis, the question will likely be: "Is it time to cut our losses with Kabila given this latest example of his and his cartels efforts to self-protect and predation? Does it rise to that level?".

A botched and/or violent election will likely provide the final answer and hence the path forward from this latest bombshell from LD in England. An “ok” one will likely mean the status quo irrespective of it and the valiant efforts of Mr. Joyce.

Frank

Tony said...

First: as sharks and crooks as this Joyce preaches against corruption, i am sceptical. I am not a business-expert, but I have questions on this type of "revelations".

Second: Just one question that is verifiable:
In his table Joyce gives the Kolwezi Tailing Project a value of 2.63 billion dollars. In a document of 2006, Astrada minerals mentions this project as a project of 320 million dollars in a promotional brochure. So since this 320 million dollars was already a figure to sell the project to investors, how come the mine-value is now estimated at 8 times more? By whome is this estimate dne? By a society named "Numis Security". How this society is relate to for example First Quantum of which we know they wage a propaganda war against Kinshasa because they were treated bij Kabila for wath they are : "des prédateurs".

Third: market value is what something is worth on he market place. So were are the companies who have 5 billion dollars to spend in Congo to buy those mines and get thm in production?

Anonymous said...

I’m mostly with Frank here. While it’s good to see this issue get more traction in official circles vs the erratic spate of articles by Bloomberg over the months, I doubt this will make any difference on the aid or policy front vis a vis the West to the DRC.

If I have learned anything at this point, I have learned the aid and policy appartus is chock thick with interests that have conflicting values as it relates to the Congo. All this expose does is expose the (few) details of the game in Kinshasa- not the nature. It contines to astound me the “Congo Masquerade”, which I have now read 4 times, hasn’t gotten the attention it so rightly deserves. Unlike Stearns work on exuming the wars that engulfed the Great Lakes, “Masquerade” goes deep and wide into the political system of the Congo and examines the intentions and inadeecuies of policy towards it. Reading it for me has been a revelation.

If this effort by Joyce starts a discussion that would be great. But, again, I just don’t think this will get us to a place where all forms of non-humantarian aid/grants/loans/whatever are attached to clear governance benchmarks Kinshasa needs to meet to receive it and sanctions when it doesn’t.

The foreign policy bureacray in the West simply doesn’t have the balls or the werehtihal to allow it.

Finally, to respond to Tony, keep in mind these are concessions. As such, what is being sold here are contracts for the right to mine the assets that underlie the concession. So, for example, if the the DRC government offered 10,000 acres of prime teak forests for logging, the value of the concession would be based on prices for teak lumber over the lifetime of the concession with built in costs for logging, transportation, and a political risk factor (very high in the Congo). Let’s say that means $1 billion for the concesssion. This is the likely production value- not the contract price. Thus, if you and a group of investors wanted the concession, the government and your group would negotiate on its purchase price, royalties, fees, and taxes to go into production and export the teak. That contract could be $1. It could be $50. It could be $5 million- but no investor would pay for the full underlying value of the asset- in this case the teak trees. Just to be super clear, the DRC government MUST publicly make available ALL resource concession contracts. It has failed to do so. Instead, what Joyce is suggesting, is that they have avoided transparency on these deals by allowing the investor(s) to open shell companies in the BVI’s, “sell” the conession to the shell company, which, he alleges, will likely be sold for a higher value. Not the FULL asset value but the market value for a concession contract, which is different.

Its actually theoritically possible that once these concessions get in the hands of actual mining companies vs concession contract traders like Getler and Marc Rich, it will benefit the Congolese once production gets into gear via jobs, taxes paid, etc. As such, this kinda weakens Joyce’s charge which buttresses Frank’s point about the utility of all this.

- Mel

ps. I invest in distressed properties here in FL and thus have some insight into the difference between the market/underlying value of something vs what parties agree to on the final sales contract.

Tony said...

So I Understand there are two utilities of this Joyce's story.

The first is to make a spectalur accusation saying that Kabila has stolen 5 billion dollars from the Congolese State and gave it away to people as Gertler. In fact this is not at all true. So it is a lie, but it could be usefull for some political actors.

The second most truefull signification is that the Congolese government could avoid such "coup de chantage" and arbitrary accusations by publishing the ressource concession contracts. But this is a whole other discussion. There are people who can pay many lawyers to get money from the Congolese State in case some clausules of some contracts are being made public.

And so there is a discussion between the government that gave an order to Gecamines to publish the contracts and the head of Gécamines who answered that if he did that, he would be pursued in the court.
see for example this story: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-03/gecamines-of-congo-refuses-demand-to-publish-mining-contracts.html

Anonymous said...

oh good lord.

That article just boils the blood.

Do the Congolese think we are all stupid or something? Too bogged down in budget debates, and "occupations", and watching the latest "Breaking Dawn" saga to notice such BS?

Earlier in the year, Gecamines transparency excuse was "we are still conducting a review". Now its "should we publish there could be legal consequences we need to avoid".

I'm pretty sure in a few months it will be "we must wait until the new administration settles in and political risk is reduced".

The mining code could not be more clear on publishing contracts and doing so in a timely manner. Yet all we get is delay, obfuscations, miscalculations, excuses, and rank theft year after year.

I could never be a diplomat. I am simply too fond of calling out liars and jailing thieves.

Anonymous said...

Occupy Congo?

Anonymous said...

Why not? Ater Irak, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Libya and after destroying the horn of Africa and after a useless dirty war between 98-2003 in Congo. Why not? And why choose between Syria, Iran or Congo? There's enough weaponry to kill everywhere at the same time. But maybe better save your market system first by making 99% of the people in the US and Europe poorer to fatten the 1%.

Anand said...

Not to shift the discussion, but I read an article today that said Tshisekedi said he would kick out Rwandans and their sympathizers and called on his followers to kill those responsible for kidnapping the Hunde singer who was abducted a couple of weeks back. Can anyone verify this? Outside of being dramatically inconsistent with saying he is not calling people to violence, this seems like much more overt and dangerous rhetoric. Here's the article.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Africa-Monitor/2011/1118/Congo-presidential-candidates-bring-their-campaigns-to-the-east

Rich said...

Anand -

I am yet to confirm this information through other sources but I can say from the outset that I will not be surprised at all when this will be confirmed because that is very much like tshisekedi.

Everywhere he goes, his supporters great him with a song where they sing in Lingala, "... Ya tshitshi Zongisa ye na rwanda..." meaning "... elder tshisekedi, return him (J Kabila) to rwanda..." as for when he wins the elections...

See in the video below from minute: 10:06 when he refers to J Kabila as a "that thing we are not even sure where it came from..." almost like J Mccain calling Obama "that one" but in Congolese culture that is a bit over the top to call someone respected by many "that thing"...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aauzYxqPBQ&list=FLkIIdq_siHRV-y7vyJy2GzQ&feature=mh_lolz

According to the last news, yesterday his campaign has been severely disrupted in Kindu several people injured and this morning his hotel has been surrounded by a group of women from Kindu protesting against his rethorics and some of his attacks against J Kabila.

Thsisekedi has always been very erratic back in 1966 he took a decision to send to death by public hanging 4 ex ministers who worked with the 1st Congolese president (Kasavubu)

Here is the link to the video where he is explaining his decision to hang these 4 heroes. The biggest stadium in Congo is called "Stade des Martyres" in rememberence of these 4 who were executed on a pentecost day...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB5eT7Tk2NE&feature=channel_video_title

Some may disagree, but I cannot see any positive action from tshisekedi in his entire more than 50 years long political career...

Rich

Rich said...

Anand -

In this other video, at minute 2:13 tshisekedi refers to J Kabila as ".. that rwandan..." I don't understand if he really knows what he is talking about because assuming that J Kabila is a rwandan, him (tshisekedi) should never be going with a 'non-Congolese' to the election because the constitution does not aloow foreigners to take part in the elections...

It beggers beliefs when nonone has never put the question to him...

Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSOPCgeFFjI

Rich

Anonymous said...

It isn't that overt, Anand.

Etienne is appealing to a deep and lingering hatred for Rwanda in his latest rhetoric. And to be clear, most Congolese I know in the country- and I know many in all of its territory- strongly distrust and dislike Rwanda.

And for good reason. On missionary trips, I've actually attended workshops where American missionaries sensitize Congolese ministers and deacons to racism and bigotry. The surveys of participants after the workshops reveal more enlightement but still lingering distrust of Rwandans- though there is less of this with Congolese Tutsi's who, it appears, the Congolese "tolerate" as members of the nation. I've seen survey from Gemena (way up North), Lisala (on the Congo River), Kindu in the center, Matadi (way in the East), and Lumumbashi (way down south). It's pretty widespread.


Now, ofcourse, Kabila is not Rwandan and this rhetoric is dangerous and cynical. But Etienne is appealing to Congolese nationalism and we will see if it works.

Keep in mind that for many Congolese there is a kind of crisis of legitimacy with their government. A good chunk of the nation believes that they have never been able to choose its leaders with the all encompassing "international community" choosing them for them.

Given this, the stakes of this election are really high and almost "revolutionary" for a portion of the Congolese. Hence, Etienne's increasingly aggressive rhetoric. Just think about Republican's "southern strategy", their appeal to "welfare queens" and taking "personal responsibility" which, ofcourse, are all code for 'we will protect you from blacks and liberals demands to redistribute your wealth to them' and you get what I mean.

Its been very successful for Republicans and I am pretty sure appealing to nationalism and this grievance around legitimacy will work for the a good portion of the Congolese.

Having watched this old lion over the years, it is fairly interesting to see this with Etienne. He is alot alike Yassar Arafat- always missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity. His skills a political tactician have been wanting but its fairly clear now he's going for broke which, ofcourse, will push the country to the brink.

Its all pretty sad but it is reasonable in context.

Mel

Rich said...

Mel -

I do get your point and I think it makes sense to an extent. However, I just wanted to note the irony. When L D Kabila called the Congolese to stop the rwandan army progression to Kinshasa, this was followed promptly with bad consequences as innocent people got caught up in the mix. When L D Kabila relagated tshisekedi to his native Kabeya Kmwanga with a tractor in the charted plane (so that he can work 'farm' in/for his community) this went unoticed since Congolese saw in L D Kabila true nationalisme that stemed since the Lumumba and Mulele era.

I have never understood the true meaning of tshisekedi nationalisme since he is one of the rare politicians alive who actually persecuted to death Congolese nationalists of the 1960s. tshisekedi referred to Lumumba (the all time Congolese national hero) as a 'frog' see Ludo de witte (2001)... The same tshisekedi sent Evariste Kimba; Anani; Mahamba and Bamba (key figures of Congolese independance)to be executed by public hanging on the 2nd June 1966 (see video in my first post to Anand).

Yes, it is possible to pull on the nationalism string to get the support of Congolese but this does not add up when we try to look through history to check who can call himself nationalist...

The hatred and distrust of rwandan by some Congolese is most of the time ill informed and political leaders should help to tame this down since this will help improve stability in the region but there are Congolese who have been wrongly labelled rwandan so that they can be targeted and abused in this way.

I don't think this kind of irresponsible nationalism is what the DRC needs now. The 2006 were just as important but there was not such racism fuelling around...

Finally, it is again ironic to see tshisekedi targetting rwanda in this way since he once joined RCD to form some kind of coallition that would allow him to gain some kind of power...

I don't think tshisekedi strategies are working which is good because I don't think the man is fit for the task...

Mark my words, tshisekedi will fail BADLY if ever he attempts to set any kind of uprise 'revolution'. It is sad because he will not hesitate to put some of his followers in arms way but Bemba was far more sofisticated and well armed than tshisekedi we all know how things ended...

I really hope that no innocent Congolese blood is shade for this; simply not worth it...

Rich

Anand said...

@Rich - You are an exhaustive resevoir of useful resources as always. Thanks so much for the video links. Even more interesting than Tshisekedi's comments in these videos are the responses of the crowd. He is clearly stoking passionate tensions and anti Rwandan sentiment (much to the confirmation of Mel's analysis on the topic). Although I understand the reality that this sentiment exists, it is dangerous and clearly has a wider effect than just demonizing Kabila for his supposed origins. It stirs anti Tutsi (Congolese Tutsi included) feelings, and that has the potential to lead to terrible violence. I am very interested to learn a little more about Tshisekedi's history as well, Rich. He seems to have a more moderate image when one first starts researching him. I'm also interested to hear about protests against his rhetoric as of late. I am not as familiar with Tshisekedi as you are Rich, but I am deeply disappointed in his talk as of late.

@Mel - Thanks for the analysis. I am aware of most of what you have said, but I think the angle that the "Kabila is Rwandan" sentiment is compounded by continual foreign selection of leadership in Congo, is a very interesting point. I don't doubt you are correct in the possible effectivenes of Tshisekedi's rhetoric for his own self interest. And maybe it is consistent with his character. I do find it unjustifiable though. I don't think any political edge can be legitimized by employing calls to violence. His talk might make sense from his political perspective, but the fuses that it lights, and the powder kegs they lead to, are substantial. By more overt, I am referring to the difference between talk like "mobilize" and "punish" and all out calls to kill people directly involved in a particular event. Assuming this article is accurate, that's much more overt, direct, and dangerous. I guess in regard to Tshisekedi's recent talk: I certainly am interested in his motivations, but much more concerned about the violence it could lead to.

Rich said...

Anand -

This is still coming through but according to people in Kindu, tshisekedi said something down the lines of, "... Kabila is so far doing his campaign in Swahili, that should tell us that he is rwandan, therefore I urge you to vote for me so that we can send him back to rwanda..." at this point, valentin mubake one of his advisors, took a picture of J Kabila and snapped it in public... This then led to a section of the crowd to react angrily and stone throwing insued until the police was able to restore order... This morning a group of women besieged his hotel protesting about his rethoric saying that J kabila's mother is one of theirs and treating J Kabila as a rwandan shows a lack of respect for the women of Kindu...(these are pure Congolese rumours but as I said, i won't be surprised if this turns up to be the truth)...

On another chapter, the contract to lease the airplane for his (tshisekedi's) campaign expires tomorrow and the airplane will have to return to South Africa, it is not clear how he is going to continue his campaign. When he was in south Africa he announced that he will have two airplanes a helicopter and a 4 X 4 bullet proof vehicle... we have not seen any of those and only 7 days remaining for the campaign to end.

Tshisekedi's history/political career is an interesting one... I used to be a UDPS member when i was at University in Kinshasa back in the early 1990s. I cannot remember a meeting when we were not asked to harass members of the army or police... assistants to tshisekedi such as Olenga Nkoy, Christian Badibangi, Jacques Matanda use to come on the campus at night (home 30 also known as Soweto) to chair secret meetings on how we could use the death of a student as an opportunity to cause meyhem in the city and harass the security services... Many of our friends got into serious troubles because of that and I once was kidnapped only to be released after a few days (well battered and in agony)... What tshisekedi claim to be his fight was most of the time conducted by students and some of his assistants he was rarely on the front line of demonstrations and every time we thought he was going to have some kind of power he ended up extending the life expectancy of the mobutu's regime...

There is a lot that can be said but I'm affraid we may not have enough time and space for that but I am more than happy to pick up specific questions on key period in his career if ever you have them.

I am sorry I cannot find any positive in tshisekedi's career... I will be happy to learn from others

Rich

Anonymous said...

As a actual missionary in the Congo, I can strongly buttress's Mel's point.

The lingering distrust, and borderline hatred, for Rwanda among the Congolese cuts across tribal, ethnic, language, and even class lines. Though, for educated folks, they have the awareness Rich is highlighting here about Etienne.

But we must keep in mind the overwhelmingly majority of the Congolese are barely literate- which makes Etienne's appeal to nationalism very strategic and clearly cynical given a good deal of folks aren’t aware of this history- though Kabila is making them more aware with his own rhetoric of late.

I know people are concerned about violence. But, as much as I hate to say this, I think we should all expect it. The country's political culture has not matured to a point not to expect it and, to a degree, the Congolese need to work out their historical processes.

I've just come to believe and respect that what happens in the Congo is, at the end of the day, up to the Congolese to work out. If "working it out" means violence than that's what we will have. I'm pretty sure it won't be of the cataclysmic nature we have seen in the recent past. I feel certain about that as do Congolese friends in the Congo. A minister in Lisala sent me this the other day:

"We will have violence. One can be certain of this. We will also have change, I believe. Our path to democracy and legitimacy will be bumpy like our roads! But, like our roads, it will one day be smooth and take us to better and new places. We see this in Africa. Nigeria has had much of the same history as we. But, after so many bad elections and dictators and wars, do they not have good Goodluck, Bryce? Does not Zambia now have Sata? My mother always used to say we are a quarrelsome people but we do end up finding our way home. I believe this now and more than ever."

I've gotten alot of these over the last week, but I did want to share that. We need to respect the Congolese's historical processes- even if it breaks our hearts. I realize we all want the West to “do something and now!”, but, again, it is up to the Congolese to figure out their destiny and we all know they aren’t the only ones to engage in violence when working that out.

I'd also say that a factor in this election is, paradoxically, their desire for peace. And this peace, while tenuous, is a strongly favors Kabila. This is a post-war society that, more or less, is finally at peace and increasingly more vibrant as its relates to personal freedom. Ofcourse, its not everywhere and their are a wide array of challenges the Congolese face on a daily basis, but peace does exist and I would gather this sense of peace will way very heavily on most voters when they enter the poll.

Good discussion, all, as per normal.

Bryce
Decatur Baptist Church
Decatur, GA

Anonymous said...

anand/rich-

i take some umbrage that somehow nationalism, in the guise of rwanda-bashing, is somehow a bad thing.

that can't possibly be true given the history of this nation. what other ideology is going to unite this disparate people? yes, it may cause some violence but I'm a realist and don't see violence as some horrible thing that should be avoided at all costs.

i love my home, my business, my church, and my family. if a thief comes in the night to take any of this away I will happily and gladly blow his brains out with my gun and if that doesn't work I will find my axe.


no questions or hesitation. he's gonna meet his maker.

both Lumumba and Mobutu used nationalism very adroitly. Etiene is an heir to this legacy and it shouldn't surprise if he dishes it out to gain power. I could see it if he was calling for open war with Rwanda but he is smart enough to know that would be truly foolish. Should he win, the rhetoric will stop and he may even sign treaties with Kagame. the smart money is open trade in the Great Lakes and settling land disputes in the East- not settling old scores.

love of nation is never a bad thing. even in Congo's complex context. they need more of it- not less.

jose

Anonymous said...

That was really great, Bryce. Many thanks.

I agree we in the West need to allow the Congolese to work out their "historical processes". Having spent my early years in Egypt, I would have never, ever, believed watching my Egyptian friends dance to Michael Jackson's "Bad" in Tahir Square all those years back would lead to what we saw earlier this year.

But the revolution came.

I'd also like to remind everyone that the fastest growing place for Facebook these days is the Congo- nearly 800,000 subscribers in the country in less than 1 year of service.

And with Orange (France Telecom) buying CCT shares, bring 3G to the Congo for the first time, and their large multimedia portfolio that they offer in other Francophone African countries and it is not hard to imagine the Congolese are about to get a ton of information and the ability to exchange ideas nationwide over the next few years.

Article: http://news.yahoo.com/france-telecom-buy-100-percent-061111764.html

We all know what a more informed populace means for governance, peace, and democracy.

So in-spite of what may be some challenges ahead the trend line in the Congo is a bright one.

Anonymous said...

Jason,
interesting post again. This is one of the issues that I don't see eye to eye with the Joseph Kabila's administration.
Kabila team mafia like handling of mining contract led DRC to lose the goodwill generated after the 2006 election. That, coupled with the "instrumentalization" of justice, the naked corruption practices, human right violation, the use of national treasury as personal bank made me think that Kabila is the right guy for DRC.
5 years ago, I thought that Joseph Kabila was the guy that possessed the moral fortitude and the courage to steer DRC in a new direction.
I knew that J. Kabila was not well endowed intellectually. I was even sure that he has a political set of belief, but I saw, the young men as an outsider, and a breath offresh air.
Little I know that J. Kabila administration will become a Mobutu-light regime.
To be fair, not all the things I mentioned above were of his doing. But as president, the bucks should have stopped with him.
"Tolerance Zero" was rather applied to critics of regime and whistle blowers.
Saying that J. Kabila disappointed many people will be an understatement.


@Tony, the amount of 320 million dollars you are referring to is labeled CAPITAL COST in the brochurre, not the estimated value of the mining reserves.
However, I think that valuation of an asset is better expressed by a range of value to account for variation of other factors such as market price.
@ Rich, Please don't let your dislike of Tshisekedi cloud your objectivity.
Your ad hominen attack on Tshisekedi is riddled with inaccuracies and tend to rewrite congo history.
Case in point 1. Matanda, Olengankoy and Christian Badibanga were never members of UDPS, they had their own parties.
Their parties were part of the collective of the opposition, the so called" union sacre de l'opposition"
Also, I agree that Tshisekedi justification about the hanging of Kimba in that video you linked is rubbish or to paraphrase general
Norman Schwartzkopf, bovine scatology.
However, you should be honest and say that Tshisekedi stated that the decision was taken by a military tribunal, not him.
Your attempt to link Tshisekedi to death of Lumumba and companies is at best laughable,or at worst ignorance of congolese history.
Rich, You are making me become a Tshisekedi panegyrist, which I don't really like to do.
I was never or will be an UDPS card carrying member, But,like any congolese who grew up in the 1980 and 1990, I respect the guy for his unwavering political belief that Zaire at time and DRC solution is true democracy ,respect of the " Res Publica",his fight against corruption and politic of rent. I respect him for enduring privation and multiple arrests without breaking.
I always like his populism, but today I cringe when I hear him crossing the line from populism to demagoguery.

@ Mel, Bryce, Jose and other Anons good comments

Mwana Kin

Anonymous said...

Correction,

meant: interesting post again. This is one of the issues that I don't see eye to eye with the Joseph Kabila's administration.
Kabila team mafia like handling of mining contract led DRC to lose the goodwill generated after the 2006 election. That, coupled with the "instrumentalization" of justice, the naked corruption practices, human right violation, the use of national treasury as personal bank made me think that Kabila is NOT the right guy for DRC.
Mwana Kin

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mwana Kin.

And we appreciate you and your clear desire to speak truth to power.

Frank.

Anonymous said...

(rest)

That figure is not the value of the capital that the investors put in the project, nor is it the sum of all the real cash Gécamines would receive. Compare it to the figures below:

Cash flow from Mutanda Mining to Gécamines in real terms

2011 $26.7m of which 20.7 royalties
2012 $86.5m of which 37.8 royalties
2013 $140.9m of which 40.6 royalties
2014 $170.0m of which 38.0 royalties
2015 $150.3m of which 36.7 royalties
2016 $140.5m of which 34.6 royalties
2017 $129.8m of which 31.2 royalties
2018 $120.0m of which 29.8 royalties
2019 $113.3m of which 28.7 royalties
2020-2030 each year (approx.) $108.9m of which 28.0 royalties

As you see, in real terms, Gécamines would already get $830 by 2017. But taking into account the discount, the CURRENT value of the stake over the 20y life time of the mine is considered $830.

Now, Gécamines sold the stake for $137m. Correction: it sold the Mutanda stake plus the 25% in Kansuki Mining for that price. The latter stake is considered worth a few hundred millions as well. This is how Eric Joyce gets to over 1 billion lost just for Mutanda Mining and Kansuki.

There are two other valuations that I think are a bit more problematic. For the two projects that were operated by First Quantum (Kolwezi Tailings and Frontier/Comisa), the MP uses the values from when they were still run by FQM. However, these values were only correct before the trouble started for them : when a project is halted, the value decreases because you will get the revenues at a later point in time. Example : Frontier was up and running at the time of the valuation, and KMT was expected to produce in less than a year from when it got cancelled. But now, Frontier is at a stand-still (and some say it may have started flooding, meaning extra costs), and KMT's construction hasn't been finalized and probably won't be for another 2-3 years (unless they find an agreement, which doesn't seem likely). So the value is less. Also, the discount to be applied to both projects should be more severe, because the risk is now higher, given the ongoing arbitration. So I wouldn't use the data from back in the day when everything still seemed fine for FQM to talk about the current value.

Then there's a last case the MP refers to, and to me that's one of the most interesting. SMKK. No one ever heard of. 'Only' $60 million lost. The reason why it's interesting is how it happened. FTSE-listed ENRC buys 50% of the SMKK for $85 million, the rest belongs to Gecamines. A few months later, Gécamines wants to sell its own 50% too. It does so to a BVI company for $15 million, which is a bit weird, as the 'market' already showed it could have gotten much more (i.e. $85m). Then, a few months later, the BVI company sells it on for $75 million to... ENRC. Why didn't it use its preemption right and buy it at the price Gécamines was offering it for?

Rich said...

Mwana Kin… (dikando?) –

Ref # “Case in point 1. Matanda, Olengankoy and Christian Badibanga were never members of UDPS, they had their own parties.”

I agree with you. However, what I meant to say was not that Olenga Nkoy et al were udps card holders but they were acting under the supervision if not the blessing of tshisekedi or at least 10 eme rue Limete. We all know what the term ‘partie alimentaire’ means in the DRC context… Although I have never said Olenga Nkoy et al were udps effective members, it is clear that the organisation of demonstration such as ‘operation Kinshasa ville morte etc…’ were the likes of Olenga Nkoy et al took an effective part were carefully managed from 10 ème rue Limete. So you may disagree but that is my lecture of the situation and I say this as a participant witness.

Ref # “However, you should be honest and say that Tshisekedi stated that the decision was taken by a military tribunal, not him.”

Mwana Kin that’s a bit harsh from you, I posted the link and hoped people will make up their own mind. Although I don’t think it is honest from you to expect that I interpret and explain every single aspect of that video, I do apologise for failing to point that “the decision was taken by a military tribunal, not him”. However, I am yet to find where tshisekedi has ever apologised to the nation and indeed to the victim’s families for his role in CONSOLIDATING an autocratic regime.

Ref # “Your attempt to link Tshisekedi to death of Lumumba and companies is at best laughable,or at worst ignorance of congolese history.”

I was in no way trying to link the death of Lumumba to tshisekedi my comments are still on this page I referred to Ludo de Witte (2001) for whoever wanted to find out more about Lumumba’s tragedy. I was just noting the irony of a person (tshisekedi) who claims to be a nationalist (using anti-rwandan rethorics) but never was shy to slam Patrice Lumumba who is seen by most Congolese as a key figure of Congolese nationalism. In the same way, I pointed to the fact that the same tshisekedi flirted with Kigali via RCD in 2002 when we saw him in Goma flanked by ‘rwandan’ body guards.

Ref # “Rich, You are making me become a Tshisekedi panegyrist, which I don't really like to do…”

Glad to learn that my post on this blog can have any impact on people’s behaviours…

Ref # “I respect the guy for his unwavering political belief that Zaire at time and DRC solution is true democracy ,respect of the " Res Publica",his fight against corruption and politic of rent. I respect him for enduring privation and multiple arrests without breaking.”

There are simply no traceable facts, which I’m aware of to support some of your claim unless these are simply subjective comments…I will be more than grateful if you could share your references hence enlighten the ignorant that I am…

Ref # “I cringe when I hear him crossing the line from populism to demagoguery.”

I had the same feeling in 1991 when he (tshisekedi) deleted part of the text appointing him premier minister then was sacked the following day; I had the same feeling 5 years later in 1996 when we were expecting to see him join force with L D Kabila to oust mobutu when he turned up at Rock Cap Martin to visit mobutu

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xmd7tw_mobutu-et-tshisekedi-a-cap-martin-en-novembre-1996_news

in hospital and expect to be made premier minister once again by a dying mobutu…to name but a few… this time round, I preferred not to voluntarily expose my feelings to the moods of an eternal blunderer (an auto-proclammed president who is campaigning to become president!?) …

Rich

Tony said...

@Mwana Kin and Mel. I still have big problems with the frivolity in whole this accusation against the congolese government who one sais to have lost 5,5 billion dollars and also with the timing of this "news".

Let's stick to the Kolwezi project because it is the bigest mentionned in the dossier. Sorry i have made a mistake the figure that is mentionned in the Astrada-brochure is 305 million dollar, not 320million dolar.

1) the figure of 2,63 billion dollars is an estimate by a company "Numis Securities". Why not take the contract that has been canceled and take the figure First Quantum payed for the concession eventualy by taking into acocount what is the real actual value of what already was invested by FQ. (Here also First Quantum has doubled its figures. In de Astrada brochure they talk about 305 milion dollars, in the media FQ talked about 700 million dollars and even more then one billion if I remember well.)

2) Whole the way Numis describes the cancelling of the contract as an "attack", show Numis is not a neutral scientifique organisation but it is defending the interests of FQ.

3) How can one explain that a project that costed already 2,6 billion dollars to obtain the concession, should only have a capital cost of 305 million dollars?

4) I think that Mel is right and that the figure of 2,63 billion dolars is the full asset value it is to say the estimate value of the cupper they want to produce from that mine.
In that case, if the Congolese state does not want to lose a dollar, it must trow out all the private mining companies and let Gécamines being a full state company to explore all the mines, no?

5) I understand one asks transparancy. But is this a reason to accuse the congolese government throwing 5,5 billion dollars away in such a nonchalant way?

Let's also not be naif about the big mining companies. First Quantum is waging a war against the Congolese government since it dear to cancel that contract. Al i have read about FQ in Congo says this was a good decision. That this Joyce, who say he is a socialist but who has no problem to be paied as a king by the brittish taxpayer, just a week before the elections launch this dossier is not innocent.

Tony

Anonymous said...

To rich,
I have been following your comments on different topics and have concluded that
you have more hatred for Tshisekedi than anything else. Everything you write about him if not false is not accurate and is based only on rumours. You don't show us the positive side of Tshisekedi. You have opted for the character assassination instead...

Anonymous said...

@Rich,

You're entitled to your anti-Tshisekedism; after all, he is not a perfect man. But please don't create your own facts and unfairly tarnish someone's record out of a logic that makes me believe that were Mandela a Congolese, his value wouldn't have been recognized at all by people of your sort just because he made some mistakes. And if you are unable to appreciate Tshisekedi's value and contribution to this country's quest for democracy and rule of law, I'll gladly assist you. At least, I'll try.

One caveat: just like Mwana Kin, I'm not a UDPS follower, although I have profound respect for that party's leader and what he represents. Your comments just had me cringe and forced me to come in defense of the man. For I hate to be like many other Congolese who praise their heros only after they die. The Congolese elite is the probably the only one in the world that would hail someone as their hero (Lumumba) and yet see the guy (Tshombe) who killed him also a hero...that would praise Kabila Jr. for having pulled the country out of diplomatic isolation and at the same time praise the guy (Kabila Sr.) who put it there in the first place....

Sorry for this disgression, but I believe you've got my point: we so-called Congolese intellectuals usually lack the modicum of intellectual honesty and consistency.

Despite some mistakes, Tshisekedi's far from being the devil.

Let me start with few unfair lines of attack: first, Tshisekedi's supposed involvement in Lumumba's death was merely a creation of Mobutu's intelligence people who sought to discredit the man after he fell out with the Leopard. I lack time and space to demonstrate it now; but believe me, the accusation is grotesque and all but ironclad.

On the 'martyrs de la pentecote' in 1966, you're simply not telling -maybe you don't know - the whole truth. It'd be useful if you put the story in its context back them and were knowledgeable of the conventional political wisdow of that time . I have no idea how old you were that year, but most Congolese of a certain age were still traumatized by the deadly Congo crisis that took a huge toll on the nascent nation (over 100,000 dead) during the previous five years. Mobutu's coup of 1965 was rather enthusiastically hailed by Western policymakers as well as by most Congolese elite and people. They (including young intellectuals of Tshisekedi's sort) genuinely hoped the ascent and advent of the military - which was far from being an isolated occurence in Africa - would somehow bring about a measure of discipline and order which 'career' politicians desperately lacked. As brutal as it was, albeit I don't personally condone the murder, the execution of the "martyrs of the pentecost", thanks to Mobutu's propaganda machine, passed off in the eyes of many Congolese (Tshisekedi inclusive)like something similar to what many Americans saw in the killing of Bin Laden: a justified if horrendous action. Seen from that perspective, one should not rush to judge Tshisekedi's defense of the execution four decades afterwards, without pointing out that he was only, simply and wrongly MADE TO BELIEVE those unfortunate politicians were indeed conniving against general Mobutu's fledgeling regime.

Let me now address what I promised to do: point out some critical chapters of Congo's history in which samy of my fellow countrymen (especially among the 'intellectuals'), whether wittingly or not, completely discount Tshisekedi's contribution.

Anonymous said...

(Continued...)

You do recognize a great politician mostly by the shwredness of his/her policy position and vision, by the person's ability to make pertinent judgements when the nation faces its greatest perils. Tshisekedi has demonstrated that, at least on three counts:

- in November 1996: when the majority of Zaireans still viewed the AFDL rebellion for what is was i.e. a foreign aggression dressed up as an internal strife ("the revolt of the Banyamulenges"), Tshisekedi went to see ailing Mobutu in France to convince him to re-appoint him as prime minister so that he would have the necessary legitimacy to negociate with Kabila. "We don't need to uselessly shed the blood of Zaireans, if a negotiated peaceful solution is possilbe", was consistently emphasizing a Tshisekedi who was mindful of the extent to which the Zairean army was rotted and unable to defend the country. Mobutu did not listen to him and opted to reappoint a treacherous Kengo. Had he done so (at a time when Tshisekedi still enjoyed immense popular backing, including among the military, and the myth of the mighty Zairean army was still alive in the region), the history would have certainly been very different and Mobutu would have maybe died in power.

- in May/June 1997: shortly after Laurent Kabila came to power, Tshisekedi was the first to publicly denounce the presence of foreigners in Kabila's government and called on the new president to ask his foreign friends to come up with their war effort bill (for their assistance to kick the dictator out). "We're rich enough as a country; we'll find a way to pay them back for helping us, so that they go back to their country and let us alone rule our country the way we want", said Tshisekedi. Mzee turned a deaf earn to that wise advice, and had Tshisekedi relegated to his native village. We know what happened one year later, after Kabila abruptly suspended his military cooperation with Rwanda and Uganda...Had he listened to...whom you don't like...

- August 1998: shortly after the war broke out and the attack on Kinshasa repelled, Tshisekedi issued a very surprising statement advocating for negotiations to launched with the aggressors, claiming there was no military solution to the conflict. He was widely met with ridicule, including from within his own party.As a result, he lost a lot of popular support since 1998 and alienated even his fervent admirers, myself included, due to his anti-war rhetoric/stance at the crucible of the war when Congolese patriotic feelings flared up,as Kabila was promising to wage "a long and popular war" and to send war back to Rwanda. Had we listened to him, we would maybe not been having 6 million of our people murdered in the useless war.

These are just few examples and I can go on. Now, Rich, tell me: who was stupid, Tshisekedi or the Congolese elite who believed in Kabila?

I understand at times, a people can be misled into war (just like Bush did with the American people). But in the case of the Americans, the latter did give credit to the rare people (including Obama) who had warned the nation about the blunder. We Congolese, on the contrary, are keen to insult the one who displayed better judgement than the majority of us...

I'm sure that five decades from now our offspring would regret having been fathered by really useless folks.

Sorry! No offence meant...

Bruno

Anonymous said...

Thanks you Mr Stearns for bringing this community together! The two running threads here--> Etienne vs Joyce's dossier---> is incredibly illuminating.

And thank you Bruno and Mwana Kin for these historical throwdowns! Super fascinating.

From what I can gather, Bruno's basic point here is not simply a defense against Rich's selective reading of Etienne's career but really a call for more consistency and bravery from Congolese intellectuals.

That is pretty important for many, many, many reasons which, for the sake of keeping this debate going, I won't lay out here.

@Jason- I think it would really useful to create an Online Journal, written in French, English, Swahillli, and Lingala, that allows scholars, journalists, missionaries, and intellectuals- in and out of the DRC- to have debates, offer research, and other things to further knowledge about the nation's past, present, and future. I would definitely invest in something like that and I believe it would serve policy makers. And, if it is written simply and has the ability to allow comments, would encourage debate among the Congo's people.

Frank

Anand said...

Responses Part I

@Rich – Thanks so much for the insider’s view and current scuttlebutt on Tshisekedi. I appreciate your willingness to share some of your personal experiences. I am sorry you ever found yourself in a position of being kidnapped and battered. I may take you up on asking more specific questions.

@Bryce – I appreciate your perspective. Thanks for sharing the very interesting quote from the minister in Lisala. Though I do understand that we may see violence, I differ on the view that “We need to respect the Congolese's historical processes- even if it breaks our hearts.” I do respect the idea that ultimately the Congolese people must (and should) shape their own destiny, and I agree that we may indeed see more violence pre and post election. However, I don’t respect out right calls to violence for one’s own political gain. I don’t respect the ethnic, tribal, or politically based violence that occurred during (and after) the wars. I am hard pressed to find how this violence has led to concrete and sustainable gains for the Congolese people. I am not an advocate of outright violence for any purpose, and think it should be avoided to the greatest degree possible. But, I do see a difference between a unified group or citizenry using violence to overthrow an occupying force or corrupt regime vs. the kind of fractionalized violence that has, and is, taking place in Congo. The Congolese didn’t rise up against Mobutu as part of their natural historical course. Their destiny was shaped heavily by foreign actions and interests. I just think there is a difference between an organized group seeking freedom vs. political leaders calling for retaliation and killings. And I don’t respect the latter. I do respect your perspective that the outside world can’t control Congo’s political course though. (By the way, I don’t know where you are based, but stay safe bro.)

Anand said...

Responses Part II

@Jose – I do understand your zeal as to the idea of protecting one’s own home, family, community etc. And you are quite right that national pride has many positive and potentially unifying benefits. I don’t know that I agree that “love of nation is never a bad thing.” I think it is more complex than that. Loving one’s country doesn’t mean loving everything about it and every way in which nationalism is expressed. Expressing national pride through angst or hatred of another country has many negative effects and is not a sustainable focal point for nationalism. Your question, “what other ideology is going to unite this disparate people?” hopefully has a slew of other, more positive answers. National pride can be based on any number of positive aspects of a country: resilience, cultural values, and tolerance to name a few. I don’t think U.S. nationalism is based on hatred of other countries, why should Congolese nationalism be. To be sure, anti-Rwandan sentiment is very real in Congo and has very justifiable concrete, historical bases, but there is a fine line between legitimate beef with another country and demonizing all people, ethnicities, and the country as a whole. Cynically stoking those flames is very dangerous.

Regarding Tshisekedi: I really appreciate everyone’s perspective. Clearly there is significant divisiveness as to the man’s history and current merits. Sorry I can’t contribute more to this discussion outside of reacting to his current presidential bid.

A last word on violence in Congo: For me, first and foremost, the Congolese people are people. They are capable and deserving of a peaceful political process regardless of their history. That may not be the reality right now, but in light of the current situation, there is a big difference between acknowledgment and acceptance. I don’t accept that any of the violence we have seen is reasonable, justifiable, or okay. I don’t think the Banyamulenge teachers who were killed in Fizi a while back is okay. I don’t think people hurt and stabbed in various skirmishes is okay. I don’t think kidnaping the Hunde singer is okay. I don’t think the little girl killed in Kinshasa in late October is okay. Although realities, none of these things are an acceptable or positive part of an electoral or historical process. None of these things has furthered any grand democratic gains. I wouldn’t find them acceptable in the U.S. and I don’t find them acceptable in Congo. Forgive me if I am misreading much of the sentiment here, but I really feel strongly that because of Congo’s history, even more due diligence and condemnation of violence is necessary, not a slow acceptance that that’s just kind of how things work in Congo.

Tony said...

@Mwana Kin and Mel: please explain me if I am wrong.

Joyce mentions on his site document 14 as source to state: "Name of state-owned company selling asset: Gecamines"

But this document should be read by everybody who wants to know the truth about this Kolwezi contract.

The document is the "8 January 2010 Gecamines’ Board Minutes".

In the document is said that the 60 milion dollars is not the proce that is paid, but it is de pas de porte (FQ had payed "un pas de porte de 15 milions dollars").

Royalties are received of "2,5% sur le Chiffre d'Affaires Net". In the FQ contract there were no royalities.

"30% de participation au capital social pour Gécamines et la RDC conre 17,5% chez FQ".

"3 administrateurs Gecamines sur 8 au conseil dadministration".I think in the FQ project there were no administrators of Gécamines in the board.

So this contract is much much better then the conditions of the contract wth FQ.

My conclusion: this accusation about a loss of 2,63 billion for the Kolwezi project is a LIE. It is based on a comparison of one element of the selling cnditions of the concession with the estimated market value of the cupper that will be produced on this Tailing Project.
This is dishonnest and shows the partiality of this company named company "Numis Securities".

Tony

Rich said...

Bruno et al -

It is unbelievable how some of you guys can become so allergic to criticism! Some of you do recognise that the man (tshisekedi) have made or can make mistakes; yet, you are quick to moan when one points to some of those mistakes.

@Bruno you pointed, for instance, to the fact that tshisekedi did not want the presence of Rwandan allies in Congo after AFDL succeeded in controlling Kinshasa, yet in 2002, we saw him (tshisekedi) flanked with Rwandan body guards whilst flirting with RCD (a Rwandan backed rebel movement). Am I wrong again to notice that as a severe act of inconsistency?

I wish I did not come across this BIASED but I am deeply sorry because I’m struggling, big time, to find any positive in tshisekedi’s more than 50 years long political career. Please, do point me to some reliable references, if ever you have them, so that I can learn…

Due to his erratic character and the many mistakes he’s made in his long career, I simply don’t trust the man would do a great job as head of that country. His more recent rhetoric (auto-proclaimed president…) is one more fact showing how unwary the man can get.

Hate is a BIG word and I can confirm that I don’t hate tshisekedi. If, however, some of you see my comments against him as being hateful I wonder why you have not been this vocal when tshisekedi supporters are promising to burn alive those who do not share their world view!

For almost a decade, I’ve followed and did what the man said but I think, in today’s context, his methods are out of date and he needs to adjust to the new dynamic or retire and let his children’s generation to do the job.

Once again I am sorry if I’ve hurt any feelings but I strongly believe that if the Congolese opposition is to offer a sustainable alternative, this opposition must be fully exposed to the full swing of critics instead of waiting when it is in power or too late to start assessing its short fallings…

Thanks for some of your enlightening comments

Thanks to Bryce and Anand as always it is both helpful and refreshing to read your comments on this blog…

Some humour would be nice! Here is a video related to the elections. One guy is J Kabila and the other is E tshisekedi. Sorry the video may come across as being BIASED but I just like the impression they make of tshisekedi and Kabila and it made me laugh.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wdx50vlRI54&sns=fb

Rich

Anonymous said...

thanks, anand and, ofcourse, others for this debate.

i believe Bryce’s point about historically processes is essentially a call to allow a sense of agency to be placed on the Congolese. I ofcourse cannot speak for bryce but that is the implicit assumption of his argument.

i believe it is a fine assumption.

as it relates to the manner of violence in the congo we will simply need to disagree. i just believe things like war and political violence are perfectly acceptable in the affairs of human life. its been going on for nearly all of our history and i truly doubt it will change in the Congo in the next month. i ofcourse agree that it would be wrong to harm innocents but if the congolese decide to react violently to a potentially fraudulent election given the repression of this regime they will have my fullest support. the international community simply does not care what happens to them. thus, it would be a act of self-determination to allow the Congolese to decide for themselves what the next step should be if their vote is stolen or compromised in any way. if that next step is arming themselves and attacking the regime than that’s taking their destiny into their own hands.

end of story.

if you truly believe the congolese are “people” than they have a right to self defense.

i know it sucks to say this but, at this point, we need to be realistic about what may come and have some form of Plan B that assists those in the Congo who want to be free of the tyranny and incompetence of this regime since it is perfectly clear this election will not allow that.

if we get to a place where violent erupts as a result of whoever wins and we end up with a process that forces power sharing a la Kenya the Congolese will be in a much better place than they are now. hell, we may even see constitutional reforms that encourage a better balance of power in kinshasa, an end to the parallel government that exists now, and more power given to the provinces.

again, let us let the Congolese decide and choose their destiny, let’s ensure some kind of Plan B, and let’s get out of the way to let this all happen.

jose

Anonymous said...

@Tony-

You are correct that the analysis of Joyce, which follows an analysis from Numis is flawed in light of the Kolwezi tailing.

Is it a purposeful distortion? And all of it? Well, it depends on how you view the broad and diverse array of interests seeking some loot in the Congo.

Again, Joyce (and to some degree Stearns), is making the argument that market value of a concession and the selling price of a concessional contract are, or should be, the same.

Simply not the case.

Its like saying selling 4G radio spectrum to a cell phone provider is the same as the potential monetization of the spectrum in the form of cell and/or broadband access to consumers.

I believe, as you are alluding to, the smoking gun here is Numis. Hence, I've been researching their dexterity at financial research in addition, like yourself, to the nature of the contracts. I'm not done but I plan to share what I come up with here, with Kavanagh (Bloomberg reporters), and my US Senator Bill Nelson (D- Florida) who is a friend of the Congolese.

Mel

Anonymous said...

Have folks seen this?

http://www.gallup.com/poll/150842/Africans-Lack-Confidence-Honesty-Elections.aspx

So, for the non-Americans here, Gallup is a leading polling company in America and has been for like 50 years.

Well, they did this poll about Africans sense of trust in their elections (and their are other polls here about other institutions and a 2008 poll about "urban Congolese") and, for the Congo, its a woefully low 33%.

That is pretty god aweful and I think a sign about things like turnout and likely violence.

Anand said...

@Jose - Thanks for the discussion. Yes, we probably do disagree about this issue. From what I understand, violence in the Congo is incredibly complicated. I think the idea that a unified national front would rise up against the government would first require a national unity that doesn't currently exist. Groups are fractionalized by history, ethnicity, preceived nationality, political affiliation etc. So it seems to me that violence would most likely serve to destabalize Congo. In Congolese history, it has been overwhelmingly innocents who have suffered the brunt of political violence. Civilian casualties, death of displaced people, and all manner of human rights violations have been the outcome of Congolese political violence. Maybe we could agree that if the Congolese had a unified front, then that could be supported. And I certainly agree that the international community couldn't care less about the Congolese. I don't disagree that the Congolese have the right to defend themselves or rise up as a unifed group. But in the current blurred and convoluted state of affairs, it is hard for me to agree that foreign support of those in the "right" would be helpful. Outside powers have almost always deepend Sub-Saharan Africa's problems by supporting various factions for dubious or misinformed reasons. I completely agree that only the Congolese can and should choose their destiny. I sincerely hope it is as peaceful as possible and that the Congolese do find a national unity to speak as one force against corrupt and self serving governance. Thanks again for the discussion.

Anonymous said...

That’s interesting, Anand.

So, if you place the word “England” or “the English” in your comments, how would this effect your view?

From the moment William the Conqueror (ahem, a Frenchman) colonized England (let’s be clear, that’s what it was) to the election of David Cameron some 900 years later, has not England emerged as a unified, stable, democratic, free, and (relatively speaking) prosperous nation free of foreign influence?

All Jose and Bryce are suggesting is to let Congolese historical processes play out. I know, for some of the liberals in this room, that is hard to do because Congolese violence can be so brutal and savage but we must honor the right of these people to choose their providence- even if it means “destabilization”.

I am just of the opinion that they have never been given this most fundamental right and this has got to stop.

I’ll just conclude by saying that in the birth of the nation we both called home, very few people in Europe believed “the founders” were engaged in a righteous cause given our own penchant for bloodletting during that and previous conflicts with the native population. For all intents and purposes, people we revere today were simply considered rebels- and greedy ones at that given it all started with a goddamn tea tax. One nation chose to assist- France- and if it wasn’t for their “dubious and misinformed reasons” for assisting America would have never entered history.

Dec 6th is not D Day. It could be great, it could be horrible, but it could just mean the status quo. It is up to the Congolese to decide what it will be and its probably best to keep this in mind and let “historical processes” work themselves out.

Let's not become slaves to Congolese history and the potential for unity from messy and violent processes.

JD

Anand said...

Hey JD. Thanks for the response. I don't know how I can be more clear about the point that I do agree that the course of Congolese politics must and should be determined by the Congolese people. I've said it several times in the posts above. What I am saying is, the violence we have seen in Congo during and since the wars has not been particularly productive for the Congolese people. And the kind of pre election violence we are seeing is not productive to the electoral process, national unity, or progress in general. Even if the elections are a scam, how does violence between various political groups, ethnicities, etc lead to a positive conclusion? Is the idea that the "right" group or "strongest" group will come to power eventually? That's happened twice in Rwanda in the last 50 years, each time with dire consequences for the other side. I think one can respect the right for people to shape their own destiny but also have a negative reaction to unproductive violence and massive human suffering. I understand the tempatation to compare the current Congolese situation to pre revolutionary America, but I don't think the comparison is really very parallel at all. We don't see the Congolese people rising as a largley unified force the way the colonies did. Yes, there was divided thought in the colonies about war with the British, but nothing like the infighting and myriad tensions we see in the Kivus. A more appropriate analogy might be the Indian revolution. This was a largely nonviolent revolution that affected tremendous political change. But, I don't think the current day Congo is very similar to either of these cases. I see a difference between embracing revolutionary violence and simply embracing all violence and assuming it will lead to a positive end. The violence in Congo has not been fueled by a huge upswell in the majority of the Congolese population in order to better themselves. Societal and political violence does not always lead to a positive end, and the American model can't be universally applied to every situation. The nuances of a country's history and current society matter. Any political movement that affects change requires unity, a clear goal, and some degree of organization. I am not totally getting your British analogy, but hopefully we don't think it will take another 900 years for a prosperous Congolese society to emerge. I don't think the comparison of the French assistance in the revolutionary war can be reasonably likened to the deep meddling of foreign powers in Africa. I am not saying that the world should step in and try to solve all violence in the Congo. But I am saying that violence that leads to no productive political end, creates a fractured society, and leads to unimaginable human rights abuses is a bad thing. I am not sure what being liberal, conservative, or moderate has to do with one's perspective on, or reaction to political violence. I do apprecaite the under-current of your argument, because it is clearly based on a desire for a positive outcome for the Congolese people. That's exactly what I am interesteed in too. I think we just differ on what's the best way to get there. Healthy debate everyone!

Anonymous said...

@ Yo Ananda-

The English analogy is apt because the "english", as we know them today, came about through some incredibly violent and bloody processes- a portion of which, I might add, led to the the founding of our own nation. I'm not going to repeat that long history here given it would literally take up pages but the point of the analogy is simply to suggest we can't divide or define violence and pick and choose between “positive” or “negative” types precisely because history is a stage of many actors and several acts. We seem to agree that we want the play to be cast with the Congolese. We just disagree on what happens after the curtain call.

In terms of France, it is simply not historically accurate to suggest French assistance was not based on their desire for preeminence in world affairs. An at war England was in their best interest which was one, among many, reasons they came to rebels assistance. And, ofcourse, it was this rebel assistance that set off a chain reaction that led to Revolutionary France. The point here is that "foreign meddling", depending on the situation, is fairly normal in human affairs and, in the Congolese context, is one reason why its enemies have been so predatory in ensuring its instability.

I am fully aware of the fractures of Congolese society and the general futility of the particular violence that has been visited upon its people. The cycle of revenge that underlies that violence is directly related to Rwanda example you noted. Well, that cycle will not stop until there is some measure of peace between- on one hand- the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda and- on the other- the Congolese and Congolese Tutsi’s on the other. This, ofcourse, is not the only element to a stable Congo but its is a fairly critical one. Where we are disagreeing is if past trends will subsist into future ones. It actually IS possible that post election violence could heal these fractures as it has happened in numerous countries and nation's over our several centruies.

I will just surmise that the Congolese are about to go through a process that is entirely of their making and choosing. There has been no “meddling”, whatsoever, in the election process- this is their baby. Well, the consequences of a bad election are about to confront them and the signs are pretty clear that the reaction will not be peaceful. But it will be theirs and theirs alone to deal with. In short, they are reaching a critical crossroad in their collective history as a people. What comes next is entirely up to them and, again, if its violence or peace we must respect the right for them to choose.

I know this is hard given the horrors of previous years but if you believe in the Congolese and their capacity to chart their own course than we ALL must allow them to chose peace or to choose violence and a way out of the latter if that is the choice. I am simply concerned that all this storm and drag about the potential for violence or actual engagement in violence will lead to the precise type of meddling you are concerned about under the fatal conceit of good intentions. We should reject this and, again, let them decide where they go on the 6th- or whenever the results are clear. The crisis of legitimacy in this nation must be resolved and the solution must be Congolese.

And if it takes a year or 1,000 its entirely up to them and we should have faith they will work it out as all nation's have in their history.

Thanks for the tango, Anand. :)

JD

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.

JD and jose’s argument is a little convoluted at first blush. Lemme see if I can narrow it down to its basics. Aside- y’all must be Paulistas. I get this strong “let the world solve their own problems” feel that seems straight out of the Ron Paul playbook! And Anand, I actually think ideology does color one’s view of politics. As an example, the idea that the US military support for Uganda and Rwanda is, by itself, tacit support for their incursions into Congolese territory and, it is argued, to ensure access to Congolese minerals is fundamentally a Marxist interpretation of history and has no bearing on facts. (and before I get creamed with comments here, I have read the UN mapping reports in full and also checked out the political activity of its authors- all of whom are leftists). The US has no strategic interests in this region and, if it did, it would be far more peaceful and stable.

To y’alls argument.....

Point: most violence in the Congo has been precipitated by foreign powers- both Western and African.

Point: the Congolese have never been given the opportunity to truly choose their destiny or, it is perceived, their leaders.

Point: political actors, reacting to this environment, have engaged in ethnic or tribal alliances to acquire power which has led to widespread and mind-numbing violence and a multiplication of factional strife.

Point: the upcoming elections are being driven and managed by the Congolese.

Theory: Should the announcement of the wrong victor occur, the reaction will likely be violence. But, unlike past violent upheavals, the target would not be each other but state authority given it is the state that is responsible for these elections. As a result, the deep desire for political change that cuts across the fractures of Congolese society could heal and coalesce around a sustained and fairly national revolt OR a movement for reform- a first for this society.

If indeed this is y’alls point, it is perhaps the most provocative theory about Congolese political behavior I’ve ever heard. Why? Because it assigns agency to the Congolese which, to be clear, is mostly denied to them by both friend and foe. It is by the same measure fairly frightening given it assumes a period of unrest is upon us.......

Cato

Anonymous said...

@ Tony,

To fully understand the KMT - Metalkol contracts, you have to read the entire contract, in particular the following article in the Metalkol contract, which - in my opinion - entails a potential gigantic debt for the Congolese state: art. 9.2.q.iii). That article basically says that if the Congolese state and/or Gécamines lose a dispute regarding the ownership of the title, they have to reimburse the signing bonus as well as any capital expenditure made by the contracting parties. Moreover, if the previous owner of the title (FQM, IFC, IDC) sues the private party (Highwinds, i.e. Dan Gertler and ENRC) and the latter lose that trial, then Highwinds can claim back the damages from Gécamines and Congo. Now, FQM is suing Congo in Paris and is suing Highwinds for over 2 billion in the British Virgin Islands. If it wins, Congo has a debt of over 2 billion for what? For a signing bonus of $60 million and potential dividends in 3-4 years from now, money that would have come to the Treasury by 2012 in any event (cf below on Treasury bv state companies). 'If it wins the trial' is still a big if, but it is an incredible risk.

Something else that should be kept in mind is that no money for Gécamines doesn't necessarily mean no money for Congo. Remember that both KMT and Metalkol are subject to the Mining Code, and have to pay redevances, surface rents, profit tax, etc, to the tax agencies and ultimately the public Treasury. Additional revenues for the state companies can minimize the revenues going to the tax collecting agencies. The best example is the royalties you mention: these are considered a cost, so they affect profit and therefore profit tax. Metalkol compared to KMT is a decision to increase revenues for the state company to the detriment of the Treasury, unless... the state company sends on the additional profits to the Treasury.

The decision to take back the Frontier and Comisa titles and hand it back to Sodimico goes in the same direction. FQM was paying $54m profit tax in 2009(so perhaps around 70m all taxes combined), going directly to the state's tax collecting agencies. None of the partnerships that include a state company have declared such a profit tax so far. Now, Congo took back the title, the mine is shut down, and Sodimico receives 60 million (30m signing bonus, 30m sales price) in 2010 and 2011 combined. 70 million in 2009 (financial crisis), 60 million in 2010+2011 (record copper prices)...

I'm not saying FQM is holly - documents about the company's early operations point at bribing, and it's experiencing considerable trouble in Zambia relating to tax evasion. But to me, the ultimate question is : if getting money to the state companies is considered better than money going to the tax collecting agencies, how is that money spent when it arrives at the state companies? That's a question I'd love to know the answer to.

Anonymous said...

@ Rich,

Criticism of any leader should be welcomed, but for the sake of a reasonable debate it should be FAIR. Otherwise, one would seem to engage in character assassination which few people that know some truth about the targeted individual, whether they like him/her of not, would condone or just remain silent. As times, silence can be as morally blameworthy as the wrongdoing itself.

It's true Tshisekedi has had his mistakes but you just seem to be finding them everywhere, like in his 1996 visit to Mobutu in France. It's not that we are allergic to criticism. You remember, Rich, about my first sentence when I talk about a perceived "anti-Tshisekedism". In other words, you're seemingly eager to pass judgement on the man's past and present actions without taking into account the CONTEXT, which you as a Congolese should probably be more aware of than many of our non-Congolese friends commenting on this blog.

That's why I've been compelled to react, not necessarily to rebut your tornado of innuendo, but to elevate the debate for those who are not privy to the historical context which your criticism, as legitimate as it is, is often devoid of.

I don't need to bore the readers here by reminding the reason why the UDPS allied itself with the pro-Rwandan RCD rebellion in 2002. And I'm sure you also know that reason, which I think is convincing enough to any impartial mind. I'm sure you also know that Kagame tried hard to use Tshisekedi to improve the blotted image of his RCD stooges. Hence,for example, the Rwandan bodyguards surrounding E.T. in one of his trips to Goma - I understand that you, like many Kivutiens, found that offensive. E.T. reportedly was also aware of the potential damage but had to sacrifice his pride on the altar of a bigger/high-minded design of salvaging the Inter-Congolese dialogue and thus avoid ratifying the de facto partitioning of the country. Secondly, Rich, you are undoubtedly an intelligent person: do you ignore that E.T.'s marriage of convenience with the RCD in 2002, as necessary as it was, has become one of the preferred (irrational) lines of attack by Kabilist critics against the UDPS leader? (Just like the Republican pull- the-plug-on-grandma attack on 'obamacare') So please, don't try to play innocent by raising this...

If you want some legitimate criticism against E.T., let me throw you some meat on your plate: his not being sensitive to how sensitive people are to perceived tribalism/nepotism as well as his 2006 boycott of elections, to mention but two. While we are on that one, you seem not to realize that E.T. is just doing the OPPOSITE of what he did in 2006 when I personally criticized his apparent poor tactical skills. Back then, his strategy although philosophically tenable was politically unsustainable, since it was too easily readable. His adversaries just had the do the OPPOSITE of what he demanded to kick him out of the process. Now, E.T. seems to have learnt the lesson by settling to a strategy which is UNREADABLE to most of his political foes; and you criticize him for calling himself president, thinking the guy's stupid and doesn't know what he's doing. You fail to get that this was a well-calculated move intended to prompt the why-not question among the masses and turn this whole election into a referendum on him (whether you want E.T. to take over or not) and not on Kabila (whether you want another term for the incumbent or not). Actually, E.T.'s outsmarting a lot of people, and you may understand that on December 6th....

Bruno

Rich said...

Bruno -

Your reaction reads more like a, “I know better than you and should stop using your brain because my brain is somehow special…”, than a clear answer to simple stupid questions. And to some extent your comments sound more like a cult of a person (Ya Tshitshi) than anything else…

You said, ‘character assassination’,

I wonder, for instance, when tshisekedi himself says J Kabila is Rwandan… that is not a character assassination or you are AGAIN going to tell me only tshisekedi masters the SCIENCE of CONTEXT better than the rest of us hence he can help himself to that kind of less courteous menu just like he did by flirting with Rwanda when telling off the others who did the same thing in the past... I call that blunt inconsistency.

You said, “if you want some legitimate criticism against E. T…”

I’ve come across condescending comments but I think you’ve just set a new record… well feel free to use your ‘legitimate criticism against E.T.’ as you wish; but, please do not try and pass them onto me or others because your definition or even perception of ‘legitimate criticism’ will for ever be far from securing any kind of anonymity/consensus…

You said, “…thinking the guy's stupid and doesn't know what he's doing…”

I'm sorry but that is fairly POSSIBLE! I say this because, if the man was as clever as you want me to think, why on earth has been doing politic for so long yet failing, so far, to end his long standing career in ‘opposition’? I thought people enter in politics to access to power then implement the change they want for their society.

I don’t hate tshisekedi but I’m just not convinced the man will manage to do, in this election, what he has FAILED to do throughout his whole political career.

One has to look at the chaos with which he is managing his campaign to extrapolate on how he is likely to lead a country. One example, up to this morning, he was left stranded in Kindu as the contract for the airplane he was using for the campaign expired and seemingly had nothing planned in the meantime…

Maurice Matearlinck the Belgian Nobel price once said, "on s'endort enfant et l'on se reveil vieillard; on fait le tour de son berceau, et l'on se retrouve au bord de sa tombe"

That is pathetic and I mean it not in a snide way...

Next comment not invited but will be read with great interest. I am ready to move on...

Rich

Anonymous said...

@ Rich,

I've decidedly touched a nerve here! Chill out!

"Next comment not invited but will be read with great interest"...wow!

“I’ve come across condescending comments but I think you’ve just set a new record”. So, I’m being accused of patronizing somebody here. I elect not to seek to defend myself. Apparently not being alone in the dock somehow voids the urge thereof.

"my brain...your brain...SCIENCE OF CONTEXT" etc. The debate's been seriously lowered here, I think.

I elect not to seek to ‘out-Rich’ you.

Once again, your opinions are yours and rest assured that I respect them. But I believe a DEBATE is still possible to be had despite our diverging opinions. I’m flabbergasted at a genuine attempt to have a debate being turned personal.

As the saying goes ‘if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!’

Next comments are ALWAYS invited.

Bruno

Anonymous said...

(Addendum)

Just one more comment.
you said "if the man was as clever as you want me to think, why on earth has been doing politic for so long yet failing, so far, to end his long standing career in ‘opposition’? I thought people enter in politics to access to power then implement the change they want for their society."

In other words, according to your logic, ALL good and clever politicians NECESSARILY end up being in power. Very interesting! So, in countries under dictatorial rule for many decades (like Gaddhafi's Lybia), clever politicians are not ALLOWED to grow old and die until they to get to power. So coming to power is a distinctive trait of a smart politician...

A new record of oversimplification has been set!

Bruno

Anand said...

@JD - I appreciate the debate too my friend.

@Cato - Thanks for the concise summary of points and perspective. I do agree that political persuasion can influence one's overall view of foreign policy. But I feel like there are stereotypes associated with that. For example, here's one stereotype: "conservative Americans are so nationalistic and American centered that they don't care about suffering in other countries." But that is clearly not true based on several self labeled conservatives on this blog who clearly care deeply about the fate of the Congolese people. I am just careful to not pigeonhole someone's reactions based on their partisanship. I really admire the way you posted your perspective in such clear and concise terms. I need to learn from that. You've summarized a lot of what I was trying to say in very few words.

Anonymous said...

This thread is just brimming with such deep and profound thought. From Anand, to Tony, JD, Mel, and this truly fascinating row between Bruno and Rich it's a slight challenge to know where to weigh in.

As an American, I've had the opportunity to meet- in NY- four candidates- Kabila, Etienne, Vital, and ofcourse the very networked Dr. Kashala. I'm a student at Columbia University in Harlem and a youth activist with STAND- the national anti-genocide student network.

I'm with Bruno and Mel on the need to raise, continuously, the debate on Etienne.

But I've noticed we aren't talking about Kabila.

As a result of the exceptional exchange between Bruno and Rich, and some pretty volatile ones I've been reading on the plethora of Facebook sites devoted to this campaign and run by the Congolese themselves (which, given they are run by young people, seem to strongly prefer Vital) it would be rather useful to hear from Rich and Bruno their thoughts on Kabila and whether or not he should receive another term.

I ofcourse cannot decide and bring my own cultural baggage and limited context to this debate, but I have been struck by Amy Enrnst's posts of late on the man. It is fairly clear, in his region of supposed strength, that the Congolese are conflicted about giving him another term. For the young, the answer is "no, there has been no change.". For the adults, its a mix of "yes, he has brought peace" or "yes, but it really doesn't matter and he's the only one we know". Beneath everything I read, however, is an undercurrent of fear mixed with cynicism about this project- they seem to know its rigged against them- and a palpable concern about a return to violence should Kabila not win.

I could be very wrong and, if so, feel free to correct this well-meaning American. But a growing sense of caution and concern is overcoming the Congolese as the big day approaches- which is just very sad, completely understandable given both history and the present violence leading up to the vote, and incredibly concerning.


I'm pretty sure for those commenters in the Congo you need to be careful about what you say given regime elements likely read this blog and can trace a comment to an IP address and thus your address.

But it would raise the debate, for us all, to answer the following:

Should Kabila receive another term?

I'll just editorialize and, inspite of the complexity of this country and its politicians, say HELL NO. Kabila has not failed. But, at the same token, he has not succeeded either. Bryce's "crisis of legitimacy" particularly resonated with me and if elections are anything they are the opportunity to ensure that the people are sovereign.

I do not believe Kabila should be given another term even if he has brought some measure of stability. But I have no skin in the bone given I am not a Congolese citizen and thus can vote.

I completely realize that is, for Congolese intellectuals, a question wrapped in alot of complexity. But it is also the question millions of Congolese are going to discuss in the coming days and will enter the polls with a final answer.

I really ask this in humility and a desire to be enlightened and I swear I'm not a Kabila or CIA agent!!

Thanks in advance.

Clay

Anonymous said...

That last addendum, Bruno, stole the words right out of my mouth.

Rich, it is amazing that came out of you. As I've said many times you are among the best things about this blog, but that is perhaps the most callous statement you have made in my now year long daily trip to this blog.

As it relates to Etienne, I believe Bruno is correct: let's be fair about accessing Etienne against his own actions and before his peers at the moment.

And nothing about that comment is even remotely fair. It may be true but given this country's struggles it is simply not fair.

And just to be clear, I am a committed supporter of Dr. Kashala, have contributed to him for years, and will do so again if he runs in 2016.

I have also met Etienne over the years as he's visited the Congolese community in Boston and Seattle and while I am impressed with his admirable cause for freedom in his homeland I am not impressed with him personally (and I speak fluent French so its not because of language barriers).

I am ofcourse not Congolese. But I am an American, I've voted in more elections than I can count, and thus I have a degree of efficacy sizing up a potential leader. I don't see it in Etienne but I DO see how the Congolese could.

This is not an attack on you brother, Rich. But I want to be clear and say that I expect more from you.

It's totally ok to let me down. Please don't do it often, ok?

Frank

Anonymous said...

Dear Clay,

Let me weigh in and copy and paste my response to an American pal who was wondering what Tshisekedi means by "rule of law", as I put on Alex Engwete's blog a couple of days ago. Maybe this will help understand why change is so desperately needed in my country.

@Ken,

AS a Congolese, it sounds weird somebody not understanding what "rule of law" Tshisekedi has been trumpeting about means. That's not your fault Ken, you've probably - and are lucky to have - never lived in a banana Republic like us. Anyway, I'll gladly help you understand.

Rule of law means that Government will really mean what Government means. For example, the notion that nobody, the President included, is above law shall become reality. (Because, if, on paper, the President can be impeached, such "act of God" is undreamed-of in the DRC...)

Rule of law means that corruption will stop becoming institutionalized.

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where foreign invaders (called Mbororo) will just enter the homeland and chase away the local people before seizing their lands and crops. And the central government just does not give a damn and sing its favourite song that "the situation in the country remains peaceful despite some pockets of resistance".

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where a notorious criminal and human rights abuser who wanted by international justice is promoted to senior command position in the military.

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where politicians and army generals are wealthier than business people and captains of industry.

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where almost nobody (Head of State, MPs included) pays taxes.

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where it is public knowledge that MPs are bribed to get the country's budget passed, the Speaker removed, the Constitution amended.

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where people can be illegaly detained for 3 or 4 years without being seen by a judge.

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where intelligence agents can arrest anybody on petty and civil charges (like failure to refund somebody's debt).

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where it is crystal clear that to win a case in court you need to bribe the judje.

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where even lawyers coming to assist their detained clients in intelligence agencies' illegal detention centres can end up being detained themselves.

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where a public servant whose annual salary cannot afford him/her to buy a (brand new) car, is able to build 2 or 3 mansions per year.

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where going to prison is by definition tantamount to a death sentence. (Prisoners are rarely fed by the Government. Inmates sometimes are free to choose whether to remain in custody or escape, because there are no prison fences...)

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where Government is not shocked by appalling levels of sexual violence in the country, yet takes on NGOs and aid workers who dare bemoan the scourge.(Several years down the line, no clear anti-rape strategy or policy measures are devised by the authorities.)

Rule of law entails a country which is NOT where Government officials will boast about building 1 km of road that normally costs $ 1 million at the price of $ 10 million, and pocket the $9 million difference/balance.

et cetera....

I hope you've understood.

Bruno.

Anonymous said...

Thanks,Bruno for your appropriate and wise response especially when you talk about been fair and about context.You have indeed touched a nerve.Some of us seem to think that E.T. is a complete incompetent because he has been fighting dictatorships for several years without success(gaining power) in the DR Congo.E.T. has recognised that he has made mistakes along the way as we all do in life. Success can be measured differently for example making people aware of their human rights throught one efforts can be considered a success. E.T.'s mistakes did not make him stop his fight for the rule of law.He is still fighting for this ideal today.
I completely agree with you that putting E.T's actions and words in a specific context is important and thus fair. He has been fighting a series of dictatorships for several years in the DR Congo,this is a process that can take several years especially when it is done by non violent means and mistakes will happen.
Thanks again for been fair in your comments.

Rich said...

Bruno -

I am always up to talk about the Congo. However, I was expecting to be shown more facts on what tshisekedi has done for the Congo or can do for the Congo given his past filled with blunders; but you chose, instead, to decorate this blog with your love for the man... which is not a bad thing but I guess we have better things to do with our time than that…

I asked you a question, why he (tshisekedi) alone should be allowed to deal with rwanda not others? By the way, who defines the CONTEXT in which one can be allowed to deal with Rwanda?

No answer supplied...

I asked if questioning tshisekedi fruitless political career is labelled ‘character assassination’, how would one call his referring to J Kabila as, quote, “Rwandan” or, quote “that thing…”? will that be called a legitimate criticism or simply that he is right to do so because he is Etienne tshisekedi wa mulumba and the CONTEXT allows him to do so?

No answer supplied...

I could go on but as you can see, it is almost difficult to 'DEBATE' when one is purposely avoiding to answer simple questions...

If I wanted to stop, it was more out of respect for those who are more intelligent and moderate than me. I did not want to keep on exposing them to read my never ending disappointment with tshisekedi ...

Ref # “So, in countries under dictatorial rule for many decades (like Gaddhafi's Lybia), clever politicians are not ALLOWED to grow old and die until they to get to power. So coming to power is a distinctive trait of a smart politician...”

If you show me an example of any opponent who has been given this many GOAL SCORING OPPORTUNITIES, but decided to put the ball out of play as has done tshisekedi almost all along his career, I should humble myself and accept my RECORD… by the way, we can talk about Tsvangirai, Aung San Suu Kyi…, to name but a few, I doubt the man from kabeya kamwanga could even dream of having the same notoriety, as these two, on world stage. This is true both in terms of what they have been through for their ideas or simply the CONSITENCY and the genuineness of their rhetoric…

None of these opponents has ever stoked ethnic/racial hatred (zongisa ye na rwanda...) to promote their political ideas. In this day and age, THAT IS VERY WRONG and do not deserve to be classified as a one of mistake. Las weekend, the women of Kindu protested against this and I think we owe to listen carefully to what they have to say about tshisekedi's recent rhetoric...

Due to his blunder filled career I do not think tshisekedi will do a good president for the country and our partners must be very wary of his erratic character one of the reason he have not seen that much notoriety around him.

Some of my questions:

Why do you think tshisekedi should be allowed to deal with Rwanda in 2002 and not L D Kabila in 1996?

Why have my comments against tshisekedi’s approach been perceived as ‘character assassination’ when tshisekedi himself referred to J Kabila as, quote, “that Rwandan”?

Bruno - feel free to continue but an ANSWER to some of my questions would probably help me understand your point better than any of the self-satisfying manoeuvres you are indulging in whilst dodging questions...

@ Frank
I quite like the snide way with which you are putting your points across. Just for the record, I don’t think I will ever be able to make everyone happy all the time; adding to that, the time and space of this blog can sometimes help people, misconstrue the essence of what we are trying to put across; or indeed, misrepresent who we really are.

Rich

Rich said...

You may have already come across this but I thought I'd share it with you Congosiasa people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skzkagPRFCk

Rich

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Rich.

It might be helpful, both for yourself and your views about your politicians to not take it all so seriously.

Here's some advice given to me by my grandfather who was the son of poor Italian immigrants, lost his wife to gang violence in the Bronx, was among the troops that liberated the Dacchau prison camp, helped organize his all white church to support the civil rights movement, and proudly cast his last vote for President Obama saying "Voting for Bobby Kennedy was great. Voting for Barack is a dream come true."

Here's the wisdom from my old paps:

"Son, just remember that no matter how much you like the guy, he's not always going to please. And no matter how much you hate the other guy, he won't be as bad as you think. "

I know I know. Comparing Congo to America is wrong, apples and oranges, yada yada yada...

bottomline---> perspective is important, life will go on, keep a sense of humor about it and yourself and your critics.

The marks, I believe, of a rich and full life.

Frank

Anonymous said...

@ Frank, I hate to digress again on this interesting topic.
But despite me, I will try to shed some light on the personality of Tsitshi as he is affectionnaly called by Congolese.
Most people after meeting with him think that he lacks warmth,and appears arrogant.
But the guy is not your typical politician who will tell you what you want to hear.

My opinion is that E.T is the most consistent congolese politician of the 30-40 so years. Some quarter accuses him for being inflexible and unpragmatic.
But in the context of Mobutu regime, flexibility was not an asset.
For congolese, he is the only signator of that letter that stood up to Mobutu wrath. Never went to exile nor promises of money and post brought him to the fold.
To understand E.T., one must have read the
13 congressman November 1980 letter to Mobutu.
Notably, the Mirabeau Quote introducing or prefacing the letter sums up the philosophy of E.T.
here is the quote in french:

Celui qui a la conscience d'avoir merite de son pays et surtout de lui être encore utile, celui que ne rassasie pas une vaine celebrite et qui dedaigne les succes d'un jour pour une veritable gloire, celui qui veut dire la verite,
qui veut faire le bien public independamment des mobiles mouvants de l'opinion populaire, cet homme porte en lui la recompense de ses services, le charme de ses peines et le prix de ses dangers ; il ne doit attendre sa
moisson, la destinee de son nom que du temps, ce juge incorruptible qui fait justice à tous.

Here is the quote in english:

He who feels within himself the consciousness of having deserved well of his country, and especially of being still of use to it; he who does not feed upon a vain celebrity, and who contemns the success of a day when looking forward to true glory;
he who wishes to speak the truth, who has at heart the public welfare independently of the fickle movements of public opinion—such a man bears along with him the recompense of his services, the mitigation of his pains, and the price of all his perils; such a man must expect his harvest, his destiny—the only one which interests him, the destiny of his fame—from time alone, that judge incorruptible, who renders strict justice to every one.

See below a link to that document, please read it yourself and you will see how actual the letter still is.

http://www.politique-africaine.com/numeros/pdf/003094.pdf

Mwana Kin

Anonymous said...

@Rich, Mutoto ya Katanga,

I respect your opinion, and you are entitled to it, as long as you don't distort the facts.
Or to say in french as long as " tu ne tords pas le cou aux faits".
Remember, what appears as inconsistency to you is someone else pragmatism.
What you see as missed oportunity, is someone else unwillingness to compromise on the core philosophy or political value.

Le'ts now return back to the topic on hand

@Tony, I am congolese and I appreciate your attempt to counter Mr Eric Joyce report.
You may question the timing and the messenger motive or the magnitude of the number, But it is not the number that count it is the sprit of the report that is important.

I have friends who are close to this administration and I told at that time that FQM assets seizure was a con job, an amateur
con job without cost benefit analysis.

That act destroyed all business goodwill that the DRC had accumulated since 2006.

Since then, no mid major or any major mining company has entered DRC mining sector.

You can argue that the contract was unfair to Gecamines, but that doesn't mean it was illegal.

For god sake, the contract was signed and published by Kabila father and subsenquently affirmed by Joseph Kabila office.
What should have been done is put in jail the corrupted people who signed the contrat in first place.
Unfortunately, the same people who signed the contract are the same people who contributed to its breach because they wanted to extract bribes from FQM.

What is more strange is that DRC had more avenues to get FQM to fork more, including taxation, revocation of preferential treatment and son on.

Like @Anonymous NOV 12:09. said, when this mess is sort out by the Paris tribunal of Commerce, DRC will be left owing FQM 1.5 to 2 billions dollar. What a shame!

That is one of the reason I agree With Mr. Tshisekedi that DRC need a president who will advocate the rule of Law.

Mwana Kin

Anonymous said...

I’ll respond to Rich:

Why do you think tshisekedi should be allowed to deal with Rwanda in 2002 and not L D Kabila in 1996?

This question is a red herring and, as such, doesn’t deserve a response given its a rhetorical trap. If you want to argue then please try to do so with points- not rhetoric that sounds nice but basically goes no where. But, just to please you, I’ll respond to this asinine question. Laurent made it pretty clear to Etienne that his appointment to Prime Minister, before he entered Kinshasa, would not be legal or recognized. Like virtually all Congolese, Etienne also did not know that Kabila’s forces were nearly entirely made up of Tutsi (and directed by Kigali) who would later serve as ministers in his government-sidelining the Congolese. So, placing yourself in this position, would you not also call out Kabila for this gross infringement on Congolese sovereignty? You are a nationalist, right? Now let’s fast forward to 2002 and War #2. Rwanda and the RCD are terrorizing Kisangani in addition to engaging in an orgy of vengeance and genocidal savagery by marching Hutu into the forest so that they can starve to death. Given the nation is about to be dismembered, Etienne plays both hands like a good poker player and seeks some measure of appeasement from this foe to slow, or halt, the war and secure for the UDPS- and by extension the Congolese opposition- some relevance in coming peace talks. Was that the wrong choice? What would you have preferred? Let the massacres continue? Fly off to Paris for a bit and shop til it cools down? Come on, Rich. You know this nation and that conflict required some shifting of alliances in order to bring it to an end. Laurent did it. Rwanda did it. Uganda did it. Rebels did it. The international community did it and Etienne did. That isn’t being inconsistent. Its called the “fog of war”. One can interpret Etienne’s reaction in several ways but ONE way is his attempt to maintain the integrity of the Congolese nation from its foreign enemies by resisting and appeasing them depending on the context. Complexity requires being flexible and I’m pretty sure your reaction would have been the same. If it wouldn’t, I’d question your skills as a strategist- a key skill for any politician. Actually, I won’t question it because you are not running and clearly would make a bad politician if you did. You want to be consistent and I can guarantee, as a former elected official at the local level in my country, politics is the art of compromise, building coalitions, and shifting alliances. Rigidity and consistency only leads to gridlock and inaction.

Why have my comments against tshisekedi’s approach been perceived as ‘character assassination’ when tshisekedi himself referred to J Kabila as, quote, “that Rwandan”?

(cont)

Anonymous said...

(the rest)

Because you are not being balanced and coming across like judge and jury, Rich. Did not Kabila say he would “crush” those who tried to cause violence while turning a blind eye to his youth activists that are dispensing it? Neither what Etienne said nor what Kabila said is responsible but welcome to campaigning sir! It is character assassination because you are not being balanced in your assessment and your justifiable concerns about ET’s “leadership” are clouding both your objectivity and the context the opposition is operating within. Indeed, you have been silent about Kabila’s fascistic machinations from the get go so you shouldn’t be surprised if your selective outrage is called out for its lack of fairness by those who are grappling with his venality. Stop throwing rhetorical bombs, Rich. It does not help your normally reasoned prose and clearly does not help the debate.

Bruno - feel free to continue but an ANSWER to some of my questions would probably help me understand your point better than any of the self-satisfying manoeuvres you are indulging in whilst dodging questions...

Bruno can answer for himself but its my suggestion you seek more clarity in your questioning. If you need to write in French than do that because your English syntax gets a little messy when you get excited or frustrated. Its something I’ve noticed and so consider this friendly advice.

Mel

Tony said...

@ Mwana I disagree heavily with your opinion. You say that the contract with FQ was signed and published and that hence, the thing to be done was to punish those who signed it for the Congolese side. Because those who were bribed on the Congolese side are responsible for the bad contract.
But Congo was at war until 2003 and afterwards there was a non-state (1+4) imposed by the Lusaka agreement. So there were crooks and thieves who acted for account of FQ and who toke advantage of the weak position of the Congolese State. When father Kabila and his government had to wage war to defend the Congolese territory against the aggression of Rwandese and Ougandese armies, they needed money and the national Treasury was empty. So they had to find money. You know where in the second world war, the Belgian government in exile, founded its one? In Congo, and that was a very painful period for the Congolese people who had to pay with their sweat and forced labor for a war that was not theirs.
Your answer would mean further destabilizing and weakening of the Congolese unity and thus he Congolese State.
I also disagree with the idea that the primary condition for development is the eradication of corruption. If this was the case, there would be development in the US, in Belgium, Italy or China. I agree naturally that corruption must be punished, but if after every war in mankind’s history you apply this rule, I think no national state would ever have been founded. Also there is a question of what comes first the egg or the chicken: is corruption based on underdevelopment or is underdevelopment based on corruption? I think the answer to the two questions is Yes. And the answer to struggle against corruption cannot be an absolute one. It’s to say: you must take in account the context, the “rapports de force” and aim at the heart of the corruption wh s first of all the one who corrupts and not the ne who is corrupted.
I think that taking on the real crooks is the good way. A example of such a real crook is Robert Stewart, former director of American Mineral Fields and afterwards author of he famous Bechtel-plan. Today American Mineral Fields has changed its name and has become “Astrada Minerals” and has 8% of the actions of… First Quantum.
This Robert Stewart thought by lending his airplane at Laurent Kabila in the war against Mobutu, he had gained some rights. So he made a plan for the reconstruction after the war, named the Bechtel-plan. You know that Bechtel is a big American construction company that has close ties with American administration and CIA. It receives always big construction plans in countries occupied by American troops as for example Iraq and has constructed also many military bases for the American army abroad. So since Laurent Kabila was very polite and said thank you very much, but for the rest he put this plan away and asked to his ministers in that period t make a Congolese plan, “le plan triennal”, this Robert Stewart was so angry he made a tour to the Presidents of Ouganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Angola to ask them to make a coup d’état against Laurent Kabila. I was present at the press conference he gave on may 1998 together with another crook, a Belgian one, named Mallants. I remember Stewart bragging that he had agreements of “all the presidents of neighboring countries, that Kabila had to go. And indeed, three months later the war began.
All this said: in the case of the Kolwezi-contract, the last contract that was signed was much more in the advantage of the Congolese State and people then the contract with FQ. This “Numis Security company” who has produced the “estimate” of the Kolwezi contract is clearly defending the interests of FQ,. When you read the way they talk about the cancelling of the contract with FQ, you think it is a man of FQ who is holding the pen and he just swallowed a whole bottle of vinegar. So I say, preachers who preach virginity and who in their private live do not practice it are the worst ones. Since a few years this has becoming crystal clear in the European churches.

Tony

Tony said...

sorry: it must be "there would not be development in the US, in Belgium, Italy or China". In stead of "there would be development in..."

Anonymous said...

@ Rich, Mwana Kin, Mel

Thanks Mwana Kin and Mel for your insightful comments that should help our brother Rich understand that I don’t need “to decorate this blog with [my purported] love for the man…” to try and put some context when it comes to debating about a political figurehead like Tshisekedi.

Your questions are actually being answered, Rich, but as your repulsion of E.T. will always make you look the other way when it comes to the object of your scorn, no wonder that you can’t see those answers. As in your case, any objective debate about the UDPS leader would seemingly first require on your part a “willing suspension of disbelief”! And the problem is that you seem to lack the basic HONESTY necessary for any intellectual debate revolving around E.T. But let me not stray too much on that one, since your IDEAS only are a matter for debate, your EMOTIONS are not.

Anyway, as the scene has so set, I’d gladly answer your new set of (rhetorical) questions, but before I do that let me recall the previous ones and how I addressed them…

If you well check this blog thread, you’ll remember that the whole debate about E.T. was prompted by your reaction to Anan’ enquiry about alleged statements made by E.T. while campaigning in the Kivus. Although you did not actually confirm the information, you abruptly switched to “Thsisekedi has always been very erratic back in 1966 he took a decision to send to death by public hanging 4 ex ministers who worked with the 1st Congolese president (Kasavubu)”.

You later added that “it is again ironic to see tshisekedi targetting rwanda in this way since he once joined RCD to form some kind of coallition that would allow him to gain some kind of power” (Remark: note your voluntary use of vague words “some kind of coalitions”, “some kind of power”, while the name and purpose of the coalition were known.)

You further stated that “I had the same feeling 5 years later in 1996 when we were expecting to see him join force with L D Kabila to oust mobutu when he turned up at Rock Cap Martin to visit mobutu”

This led other commentators to bemoan your “selective reading” of, “scuttlebutt” on E.T.’s career and your tendency to rewrite Congo’s history. Mwana Kin particularly accused your story to be “riddled with inaccuracies and tend to rewrite congo history”.

Then an anonymous commentator- not me- first alluded to perceived “character assassination” on your part and claimed that “Everything you write about him if not false is not accurate and is based only on rumours”.

Your whole judgement of E.T. is best summarized when you state that “I cannot see any positive action from tshisekedi in his entire more than 50 years long political career”- why is your right.

Had I been dealing face to face with you, I’d have maybe kept quiet as I often do with people displaying unsophisticated anti-Tshisekedism. But this a blog, Rich, and you shouldn’t be allowed to take liberties with historical truths and deliberately misinform, unmolested, readers especially those who have become acquainted with DRC politics only recently.
Unlike in the past (as I’ve reading for weeks a lot of your specious reasoning in this blog), I decided to jump into the debate and counter, not to defend Tshisekedi, but to restore a measure of balance and context to the whole story.

I briefly touched on his alleged involvement in Lumumba’s murder, then tackled the 1966 execution of the Martyrs of the Pentecost, as well as 1996 Cap-Martin meeting between Tshisekedi and Mobutu and the purpose thereof.

On your personal judgment that you are at pains to see any great/positive about E.T., I offered some key policy positions the man took at crucial junctures of this country’s history. Seriously, if you see nothing great about Tshisekedi’s pertinent viewpoints at the crucible of the successive Congo wars and how these would have positively influenced the History of this country, then tell me what God in heaven really impresses you!



(to be continued)

Bruno

Anonymous said...

Like somebody else said here, the problem is your selective reading of E.T. career which makes you blind to the fact that on many counts he has systematically been on the right side of history, while the majority of Congolese, myself included, were dead wrong. When you wonder what good thing as E.T. ever done in this Congo, you seem to imply that unless you are in power there’s nothing good you can do for your country. Of course you can complete the syllogism… since E.T. has not yet been in power all these many decades, then he’s only good for history books.

Contrary to your claims to the contrary, you simply don’t like the man, that’s your right AND IT’S NOT A MATTER OF DEBATE. When you’re confronted with facts, you become agitated and start talking about “my brain” versus “your brain”. Don’t pretend that “we have better things to do with our time than that”, since you’re actually not helping the debate to move on by your systematically taking sides.

“A quelque chose Malheur est bon”, as the saying goes in French. I was long contemplating writing a book on Tshisekedi’s contribution to democracy in the DRC, now your harsh refusal to face the truth has made me realize the magnitude of the “disease” visited on so-called Congolese intellectuals; hence relevance of the undertaking. Now I’ve made up my mind, I’ll write the book someday.

Now, let me revert to your questions, the bias in which is evident, for the sake of having a rational discussion over facts.

Question 1: Why do you think tshisekedi should be allowed to deal with Rwanda in 2002 and not L D Kabila in 1996?

There is a serious problem of anachronism in your question that breaches the laws of formal logic (It’s as if you’re asking why did the Soviets test their first atomic bomb in 1949 and not the Americans in 1945). The right way to put it is actually: why Tshisekedi should NOT be allowed to deal with Rwanda in 2002 LIKE L D Kabila in 1996? Anyway, let me answer with facts: Rwanda and Uganda decided to deal with their enemies in Zaire territory and needed a Kabila to have a Congolese face for the acceptability of the operation. In 2002, after Kabila and Bemba concluded the partial Peace Agreement (the Cascade Accords) in April 2002, Tshisekedi formed the ASD (Alliance for the Safeguard of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue) alliance with the pro-Rwandan RCD-Goma rebellion. The objective of this informal alliance was spelt out in the name of the organization. Just like Kabila’s short-lived alliance with Bemba did not mean that they became friends, neither did the one between Tshisekedi and RCD mean that Tshisekedi was “flirting” with Rwanda.

Question 2: Why have my comments against tshisekedi’s approach been perceived as ‘character assassination’ when tshisekedi himself referred to J Kabila as, quote, “that Rwandan”?

Your comments were perceived as “character assassination” because they match Wikipedia’s definition of the term: “an attempt to tarnish a person's reputation. It may involve exaggeration, misleading half-truths, or manipulation of facts to present an untrue picture of the targeted person.”
While Tshisekedi’s assertion, if true, that Kabila is a Rwandan is a mere allegation. Tshisekedi should take legal responsibility for his allegation, if indeed it was made, while Kabila has a right to defend himself. I only note that the latter, unlike many other Presidents whose nationality credentials have been question, has been making NO EFFORT to put that issue to rest, other than intimidation and threats by his mouthpieces.

I hope your questions have been answered.
Bruno.

Tony said...

@ Mwana Kin. In the minutes of the board of Gécamines of 8 january, the first advantage for Congo that is mentionned read as follows:

"Gécamines n'est plus exposée au paiement des dommages et intérêts consécutifs au litige éventuel qui pourrait survenir en rapport avec le contrat antérieur".

Could this mean that in the text of the new contract on the Kolweziproject, the contractant who purchased the concession, engages himself to pay all possible costs that can follow after a judicial conflict with the Lawyers from First Quantum?

In this case, this contract is not only a wise decision it is proof of good governance!

Tony

Rich said...

@ Mel et al –

In your own words…

Mwana: “My opinion is that E.T is the most consistent congolese politician of the 30-40 so years. Some quarter accuses him for being inflexible and unpragmatic. But in the context of Mobutu regime, flexibility was not an asset.”

Mel:” You want to be consistent and I can guarantee, as a former elected official at the local level in my country, politics is the art of compromise, building coalitions, and shifting alliances. Rigidity and consistency only leads to gridlock and inaction.”

That sums up nicely some of your innuendos but it seems like most of your attempts are simply opportunistic.

Ref # “Given the nation is about to be dismembered, Etienne plays both hands like a good poker player and seeks some measure of appeasement from this foe to slow, or halt, the war and secure for the UDPS- and by extension the Congolese opposition- some relevance in coming peace talks”

As we all know, etienne tshisekedi’s rapprochement with RCD did not bring the end to the conflict and similar to L D Kabila his alliance with RCD broke. I don’t blame him for trying I just don’t agree when people assume he is entitled to mistakes and not others.

Re: J Kabila, I don’t think I like him as much as you think. In fact, I can say from the outset that he should not even be running for presidency after being in command for 10 years (the equivalent of 2 mandates). I think I’ve already said this on this very blog.

That said, I think I ought to give you my position on the elections so that you may alter the way you read some of my comments.

My position is very simple. I do have great admiration and respect for individual Congolese politicians of my parents’ generation (born between the two world wars 1914-1945). That said, I do, however, feel like these politicians have collectively left a very BAD legacy. They’ve left hell instead of a well-functioning country. I am sure there can be legitimate excuses for that but I also think they could do better.

Since the day I became interested in the politics of the DRC, my hope and fight has always been to see the quest for freedom and the improvement of living conditions for Congolese through the emergence of a new political class essentially made of people from a younger generation as opposed to that of my parents’ generation.

I say this because I have seen from personal experience that, despite the lack of sound educational systems, some from the younger generation have strived and managed to gain decent education/instruction hence they are much more open minded. I find the younger generation of Congolese much more FLEXIBLE and ready to open up to new ideas. I know what today’s generations are doing is in some ways the continuation of what the older generation may have started but I also believe that this generation deserves some credits since, despite a bad legacy they’ve inherited, this country will soon experience 3 free and fair elections in the past 50 + years since its independence; 2 of those elections are to happen on this generation’s watch. For the last few months it was the first time ever I have seen some political parties organising their ever first party conference. Some old people are voting for the first time in their life… I am sure if this was happening since 1960 we would have been very far on the democracy road… If any change, I would want this to happen through the existing institutional matrix and not outside it and preferably seeing more people from the younger generation taking up senior leadership positions in the Congolese political sphere.

Continuining...

Rich said...

@ Bruno –

Many thanks for your extended reply; I must confess that when we focus on IDEAS rather than EMOTIONS we can make some progress. I note with great satisfaction that you have explained convincingly some of the points I took issues with although I may not agree with them but at the least they give enough justification for whoever thinks supporting tshisekedi is a good thing. However, I personally do not share that view (fully appreciate tshisekedi’s input to Congolese quest for freedom) and it is a shame that for the time being I may not be able to extend any further on this topic (I'm hoping to go back to the rwandan issue and how I think this is damaging not only to the country but also to tshisekedi...) because I have other very pressing issues and running behind schedule. I may be around for some short comments but I shall promise to comeback to pick up some of the key points you raised when I have more time to spare. (Parole d’homme).

Before I finish, I wanted to apologise if ever you felt offended in any way by any of my comments. Trust me there is nothing personal. In fact, I am VERY PROUD to have a compatriot like you and I hope differences of ideas will never overcome what unites us (our identity and the love for our country). I look forward to reading your book and hope you will keep us posted on its progress.

Rich

Anonymous said...

@ Rich,

Thanks for the compliment. We shall all be fine, brother.
Mark my words, change is soon coming to the DRC.

Bruno

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,

Board minutes don't prevail over the actual contract. So again : art. 9.2.q.iii (contract available here : http://www.mines-rdc.cd/fr/documents/contrat_gcm_highwind.pdf).

You say that if the contractor is willing to bare the risk, it's a sign of good governance. Can I take it from there that if the contract says the opposite, i.e. that Gécamines and the State take the risk, it's a sign of bad governance?

That said, I take your point that the circumstances in which the original contracts were signed - war, 4+1, etc - didn't attract the the most refined investors that would offer the best to the country. Many of them came in and played a dirty game. The newly elected government in 2006 said : now we are legitimate, now we are somewhat more stable, let's go back to these deals and see how we can improve them. So you'd think that the old contracts have been improved and that when they sign new contracts, they would do a better job now than in say 2002 or 2004.

Well, this is what this disclosure of cases is about: the government didn't take advantage of its stronger position to get the best out of it. In the case of Metalkol, it takes more than a reference to a 30% stake and a 60 million signing bonus to judge the benefits of the contract : it takes reading it from A to Z, assessing the debt risks (not on the basis of board meetings but the actual text), doing maths about investment and loan structure, figuring out how long the ramp up period will take until the project starts producing, seeing which entity receives which benefits, etc. For SMKK, ENRC bought the first 50% for 85 million (from a private party), and the second 50% (from Gécamines) for 15 million. Enough said. For Mutanda Mining, among the top producers in Katanga now, with a gross revenue of 70 million_a_month, it sells the 20% stake plus the 25% in Kansuki for 137 million. You can argue about FQM in 2004, but if you want to achieve change, I think it's more helpful to look at contract practices in 2011.

Anonymous said...

From Anonymous Nov.22 9:18. I would like to thank Bruno,Mel,Rich,Frank,Jose and all who are contributing to this exchange about the DRC and especially about E.T. This was a learning experience for me especially the exchange on E.T.. Bruno,Mel.. thank you for your thoughtful arguments and for reminding us that things happen in a context further more you have in your arguments and analyses on E.T. shown the importance of fairness, balance and facts. Thanks to Mr Stearns for your blog.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Rich.

But pulling out one sentence in my response to your questions is, itself, opportunistic.

Always fun doing the tango with you though.

We are getting good at it!

One (minor) complaint about this blog. I notice I am often the only self-identfied woman (and American at that) who comments here. Girls, I know you are out there! I love our boys but so many of us came to this issue because of the plight of our Congolese sisters in the East and, ofcourse, nationally. And I know y'all are reading!

Speak up! This country and American(and other) foreign policy needs our voices.

Don't let the boys have all the space or the fun. Our perspective is critical.

Mel

Anonymous said...

@Rich

Thanks for the debate about between you, Bruno, Mwana, and Mel. I’m one of those folks who is new to politics in the DRC having come from the conflict mineral issue Bruno is speaking of. I know there is this concern we are all being misled on that issue but, since getting more involved on it, I have boned up on a good bit of the full bounty of Congolese history. This exchange between all of you has helped clarify ET’s role in history to a degree so I thank you all for that! I also clearly need to learn more. :)

Anyway, I think we ALL can agree your efforts to encourage young people to get involved via institutions that encourage them to grow as leaders, love their country, try to solve its problems, and other things is not only commendable but very exciting.

So, I guess my question is, what ideas do you have about this?

It would be great to hear them! If this helps, in terms of generating ideas, a major institution that serves this role in America is the Student Government. While there are MANY institutions that develop leaders in America among its youth (like the Boy and Girl Scouts, Peace Corps, etc), its been acknowledged for some time that this key one is pretty critical. So, every school in America, particularly our “high schools”, or secondary schools, and our colleges and universities, has an elected body that represents students and their interests. They have their own constitution which can be subject to amendments, a legislature, and elected officers- like President, Vice President, etc. Each state in America also has a body that represents all the Student Government’s in that state and then there is a national federation as well. The bodies deliberate quite vigorously on matters- often very controversial matters that reflect changes in our society like allowing a Gay and Lesbian club to form on campus. It has been found that SG’s help socialize Americans young people to the functioning of their democracy, teach them about running campaigns, effective debating, and the art of compromise. They are laboratories and testing grounds for leadership and something like 95% of all our elected officials served in a high school SG when they were young. Right now, the SGA at my school are going to pressure the Administration to stop the attacks at an effort to unionize clerical, janitorial, and food service workers. It is getting pretty heated but I ran on this platform and have the backing of my peers. Wish me luck!

So, hopefully this gives you ideas! Also, if you already knew this about American political institutions my apologies. Clearly, what works in America may NOT work in the Congo but, ofcourse, human culture is nothing if we don't share ideas from each other right?

It would be great to hear your ideas about the Congo’s youth! And, whatever you are doing, I wish you the best!!

It is also my wish for peaceful, credible, and transparent elections for your country. I will be teaching English at Bethanie United Methodist Church’s schools in Lubumbashi, after I graduate next Spring for two full years. So, perhaps, maybe we can meet!

All the best.

Benjamin McDaniel
Vice President, University of Tampa Student Government
Vice Chair, University of Tampa College Democrats
President, Students for Obama, Florida
University of Tampa
Youth Minister, First United Methodist Church
Tampa, Florida

Anonymous said...

@ Tony/Mwana

Interesting discussion. I do think it makes more sense, given history and all, to focus on the corrupter and not the reactor to the corruption- who, in the Congo’s case, could be its people who engage in it for lack of pay, benefits, poverty, etc.

But that means, i think, two fronts. front one would need to be multinational executives. while every major world power has laws on the books to prevent its nationals from engaging in corruption, we all know that those laws are not enforced with any rigor nor are these acts reported on with any serious by these nation’s press. Ugandans are having a vigorous debate about oil corruption at the hands of ENi and Tullow but there hasn’t been a blip in local coverage in Italy and Ireland respectively. Sure, both countries have fiscal/economic issues but, in a sense, the corruption of african officials is tied to the corruption of bank and real estate officials that is causing the euro crisis to begin with. so, again, front one needs to be these executives and more due diligence from legal authorities in these nations.

perhaps a law that requires foreign companies to report resource contracts to be made public and a requirement for the recipient countries to report on yearly audits on the contracts? I’m not sure.

the second front is ofcourse the local corrupting government official. well, this is fraught with more difficulty. getting Africans to get serious on corruption has been nearly impossible. so, perhaps, if we require reporting from companies we require reporting on contracts from the legislative bodies of the country- not the executive office/branch. in doing so, we strengthen these institutions to fight corruption and gain better balance with executive and legislative branches of these nations- very important in a place like the Congo with its parallel government and weak institutions. Kabila’s big failure is his desire to consolidate his rule, not building the state. that’s understandable but short sighted. for something like this to have teeth, the reporting requirement needs to require consistency and sanctions. so, if the Congolese National Assembly doesn’t send ANNUAL reports by x dates, then X amount of aid isn’t sent. no questions asked, no grace period, no nothing- aid is cut. that puts the onus on the Assembly to report regularly and on time. the report, on the recipient country end, should be really simple to put together and should NAME the signing parties to any contracts. now, if there is any discrepancies between what the company reports and what the Assembly committee/working group reports than we likely have fraud. if authorities in the Congo do not begin legal proceedings in a workable time frame that THEY DECIDE all aid is cut for up to 2 years. again, no questions asked, no grace period, no appeals, no nothing.

in america, I’d actually prefer all aid- from USAID- and all grants and loans (from IMF/Worldbank) to be channelled through, and managed by, the Millennium Challenge Corporation. kinshasa is very adroit at using the vast array of aid groups/institutions to its advantage. duplication is bad. let’s get all aid disbursed via one place to track it all and reduce bureaucracy. this would require a change in the law of the MCC to do all this but i believe it would be worth it.

---more below------

Anonymous said...

in my view, if folks like Enough and Global Witness want to see an end to all the craziness in East Congo and investors want less volatile relations with local players than placing some pretty strict conditions on receiving aid/grants/loans etc has got to occur to strengthen the state. we need to link the two because development and a better business environment are related. as long as Kinshasa feels no responsibility to its citizens because so much of the government purse is funded by people who are not Congolese or contracts are opaque they will not be accountable to them, reform the security sector, etc. more transparency will always lead to better governance which has the nice effect of getting treasuries to be more professional, which could mean a better business environment, and the Congo can start going to private markets which means regaining its sovereignty and confidence as a nation.

a win win for everyone i think.

jose

Anonymous said...

Yay Benjamin!

I gotta say, I am just so thrilled that groups like Enough, Friends of Congo, STAND, ONE, and others are engaging our young people. And ofcourse, a President that inspires them in so many ways in key as well.

Yes, more needs to be done on better policy and better advocacy but the FIRST STEP is getting people involved and it is a hard one.

Kudos to you and good luck in your travels to the Congo. I first got involved as a student at the University of Florida (about 3 hours north of Tampa) fighting for divestment of the university's endowment of South African companies back in the early 80's to put pressure on the Nationalists and haven't looked back since.

Keep rockin', Benjamin.

Mel

Anonymous said...

I wonder when Bemba is going to release his supporters to Etienne.

That's the game changer and he's running out of time.

Perhaps, after this shooting, it will come shortly.

And if it comes, I really don't see a scenario where Kabila survives.

All UDPS needs is 36% of the vote to win and if Bemba throws his support behind UDPS Kabila goes down.

It's about to get real interesting in the Congo.

Frank

Anonymous said...

Tony/Mwana/Jose-

Let’s not forget this deal either everyone.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/23/anvil-minmetals-idUSL4E7MN26Y20111123

So, to help folks unpack this:

Chinese company MinMetals Resources in trying to take over Anvil Mining for $1.3 billion. Anvil has a lease on two Congo projects, Kinsevere (95% owned by Anvil) and Mutoshi (70% owned by Anvil). Anvil, in turn, partly owned by trader Transfigura- to the tune of 39%. These two projects are, IN TURN YET AGAIN, leased by Gecamines.

phew!

Now, Transfigura is saying that a deal cannot go through until it makes a “deal” with Gecamines. Gecamines is claiming the MinMetals transaction gives it the right to re-access- code for renegotiate and kickbacks- the lease before the deal completes. Anvil is saying it does not have this right and, ofcourse, all of this compounded by what will likely be a truly volatile election in the Congo.

I’m not going to comment on the counter and counter charges here but it seems to me that the multiple layers of ownership structures allowed by Congolese mining laws not only encourages graft but is so opaque that it renders it very hard for the woman on the street to gain insight into the workings of resource concessions so as to hold Congolese authorities accountable.

In my mind, THAT is the problem here and this has got to be changed. Its almost like if I start a company to build houses in Los Angeles, and then got a permit to do the same in Goma, and then create a company in the Congo that “owns” the permit and has investors with my company and the Congolese state and Kivu province, and then create ANOTHER entity that actually builds the houses, AND THEN sell that entity to a Brazilian or Angola real estate investor.

While this may be standard practice in the developed West, in the context of the Congo it is TOO CONVOLUTED and is one reason investors are frightened of investing in the Congo and, perhaps, prefer supporting rebellions so as to avoid all these efforts at self-protection to protect their investments and cheat the Congolese which, ofcourse, encourages Congolese officials to “review” them and demand kickbacks/bribes.

This cycle of greed, corruption, and opacity has got to stop because it is literally killing people and imperiling the emergence of a strong state and democracy.

Business law and registration has GOT to get clearer, simpler, more transparent, and avoid special purpose entities, in the Congo or greedy capitalists will engage, at worst, in supporting its instability, or, at best, bribery to invest.

Neither of which is good for the Congo.

Perhaps the road to a better state begins with Gecamines need to reemerge and recapitalize.

J. Walker

Anonymous said...

@ J walker,

to get a sense of perspective on this topic, I am putting some links to material that will help anyone interested in DRC mining contracts to understand this issue better.

UN Report

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1533/egroup.shtml


Links below are about governance and mining contracts

www.ipisresearch.be/download.php?id=127

www.diakonia.se/Documents/.../20080219_Risky_Business.pdf



Mwana kin

Anonymous said...

yes. please. more voices from women.

Tony said...

Excuse me Mwana Kin, I had not seen your message on the contract. Thank you very much for your patience and your information. I am learning things here.



It is not that for me Kabila and his crew are holly persons either. I am only critisizing guys in Europe or the States who ride in smooth Porsches and know how to avoid to pay their taxes and don't hesitate to claim excessive expenses, guys as De Gucht or this Joyce, and who can say wathever they want on Congo and the whole serious media shout as sheep "bad Kabila" “mafia”, “corruption” and so on.

So we have learned that the assumption that the Congolese State has lost 2.63 billion dollars on the Kolwezi project is not correct.

I do not know if the accusation of lack of transparancy is still standing, since apparently the contract is published.

Third I understand that the Congolese State has taken a big risk in signing the contract. Your reference to that article 9.q.iii It is very possible that this is a sign of bad governance indeed. The other possibility is that the Congolese government has information that give them guarantees that outsiders do not know. Maybe they think that judges of other countries will take in account the real “rapports de forces” and see this conflict with FQ as a “combat d’arrière garde”. We will only know this once the judge in Paris or where ever has spoken his last word.

Until then this contract is still much better then the contract with First Quantum, isn't it?.

Rich said...

Frank -

Ref # "I wonder when Bemba is going to release his supporters to Etienne..."

It has been confirmed, Thomas Luhaka (Secretary general of MLC) read out yesterday a letter from J P Bemba. The letter started by thanking three candidates for the presidential elections (E Tshisekedi; V Kamerhe and L Kengo) for vising him where he is, it went on to briefly state the merits of each of the three candidates and finally it explained that he asked candidates to unite behind a unique candidacy for the opposition but it is now almost 4 days before the elections and this has failed to materialised therefore, he asked his supporters to vote for a candidate whose program reflects their vision and will be able to bring abour a better Congo.

So, the MLC is no backing any particular candidate. Some find that decision a bit selfish but I think it is a shame the opposition is still struggling to unite when it is the first one to save the country is going through its worst ever governance and that it is importance to bring about the alternative. If they were serious about their assessment, I am sure they should be able to put the country first and unite but that is not the case and I predicted this in some of my previous posts on this blog.

I am still not convinced tshisekedi will do it, he'd run a LATE and very POOR campaign and that can backfire; but who knows how things will turn out?

My predictions are, and these are not based on any SCIENCE or INTELLIGENCE, V Kamerhe will emerge from these elections as the KEY figure of the new Congolese opposition, he will take the place of both J P bemba and tshisekedi for the next legislature. Between J Kabila and etienne tshisekedi, one will for sure vanish from the Congolese political scene.

Rich

Rich said...

Benjamin -

Many thanks for your comments. I know I shouldn't be on this blog right now but I think I wouldn't be able to focus on any of my other pressing issues if I did not say something about it.

I have heard about, 'Student Government' but never managed to find out more about it, so thanks a lot for giving me the opportunity to learn.

Yes I would like to see this almost sacrificed generation of Congolese do better than that of my parents and one of the things I am focussing on is education and mentoring. Kids in my society are very motivated respectful and ready for a challenge to do better than past generations of Congolese.

When I went to UNIKIN (The University of Kinshasa), this was right at a period when mobutu’s dictatorship regime was being seriously tested by internally and his agents were ever so repressive to quash any kind of anti-mobutu activity. However, each class was still able to have democratic elections for their CP (Chief of Promotion), his deputy and members of the comity the same was done at the faculty level. Candidate to being CP had to present a plan and defend it in a contradictory debate etc… they were some kind of political interferences but most of the time there was enough transparency and the elected chief of promotion was able to carry out his mandate in defending students interests to both the faculty and the University. This could go as far as assisting students outside the University (organising collects for cases of illness or death …). That said, we were confronted to a generation of professors whose idea of going to University things had to be unnecessarily tough for students. We had for instance, professors who would warn you that when they write the exam, the best of the professor’s teaching assistants would score between 50 and 60 out of 100, the best of students around 50 and the rest (average and not so good students could simply hold their eyes to cry when the results come out. So, despite the level of organisation and democracy amongst students things were not as easy as they should have been with the teaching staff. To be on the professor’s list you often had to buy a module outline (depending on the importance of the module to your degree, these syllabuses could cost as high as 50 US Dollars in a country where the average person live on less than 5 $ a month…

Continuing...

Rich said...

There are so many examples but I’d rather keep it simple so that I don’t get carried away and confuse things. This is just to show that people could come out of University with big or god degree but if they spent their entire time at the university bribing or cheating the system, the country ends up with degrees not in economics, law or whatever, but degrees in bribing, cheating etc… instead.

Let me also say that I am not generalising there were cases of very good teachers and very good students who cannot be placed into the league I am presenting here.

Now, my ideas and project is entirely related to what I have presented above, it involves working with students (at both secondary school and university levels) to help them make the most of the small things they can get from the educational system. In other way, the system can be as tough and unfair as it wants but they can at least have an opportunity to broaden their areas of research by accessing almost for free academic resources and interact with other academics and when needed have feedback on their writings. This can be done in various ways, through giving access to the internet for instance or providing academic journals for reference etc…

Teaching at secondary school or even primary school is the other area since this can be an opportunity to not only serve as a role model but also to empower the younger generation by giving them adequate academic skills…

I highly COMMEND your plans for Lubumbashi and I think there is nothing better than seeing the light in someone’s face when a penny drops and they discover they’ve learned something new… I am a Methodist, I grew up in house located only a few yards away from a United Methodist church Bible College, Lubumbashi is home to me and, I think you and me may have plenty to talk about! So, feel free to drop me a line on yalala2007@yahoo.fr (my intermediate email address) or speak to Jason so that he can put us in touch. .. I feel ABSOLUTELY privileged and glad to have read from you.

Rich

Rich said...

To read,

...the country ends up with an elite with degrees not in economics, law, etc... but degrees in cheating, bribing etc...

Tony said...

Dear Friends,

can any one explain why the Joyce man has changed his website and the summary and the 18 annexes, among which the minutes of the gecamines board of 8 january 2010, have disappeared?
Or have I mistaken myself and is this page simply displaced, so where is this page then?

Why the document n° 14, is not available any more on mister Eric Joyce's website?

Tony

Tony said...

oké i have found it again, it is here now: http://ericjoyce.co.uk/2011/11/congo-fire-sale/

first it was here : http://ericjoycemp.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/further-congolese-asset-fire-sale/

Anonymous said...

wow, benjamin! you make us all proud. and i agree with mel here. i am really so thankful for all the groups out there encouraging american college students to take more and lasting interest in africa. ofcourse it needs to be "better advocacy" but, like mel, i just feel that is tangential to simply GETTING young people involved. i have faith that young people, so naturally curious about the world and more open-minded than adults, will go "deeper" with time.

while a student at u of chicago, i studied at the university of ibadan in nigeria (i tried ukin...funding just didn't come through) and, to this very day, it was the best experience of my life- well, that and traveling the full length of the congo river 3 years ago.

best of luck in your travels to lum!!! you will love this city in the heart of the savannah. there is MUCH to do in the city and, yes, americans have long had a methodist presence there and a jewish one as well. (i'm a jew). i highly recommend a trip to upemba national park as well. the park is doing better these days and i can honestly say, having been to most of the great game parks, that it is the best. the city is very safe given the mining presence and highly cosmopolitan. it is also fairly special for me because it is there that i met my wife who is luba and congolese- so perhaps i am partial!

but do try to make it out there with the congolese friends you will make- and you will make a lot given how friendly the congolese tend to be.

everyone, once in their life, should feel the winds of the african savannah on their face.

everyone.

now rich, i'd suggest putting together a proposal or something and sending it to various foundations here in the states. if your program combines both education and encourage broader democracy among students you may likely be VERY successful in getting grants. its all the craze now and i am sure stearns can point you in the right direction and help write the project up. and you can even do it in french!

good luck to you both and super thanks to you, Benjamin, for the shot of hope you provided to this at times challenging blog thread.

jose

Anonymous said...

personally, if things don't go well, I think young Congolese, like their counterparts throughout the world and most clearly in north africa, should simply revolt.

in my opinion, that would be the best form of taking history into their own hands.

Anonymous said...

Rich-

Here are some resources- all in English unfortunately- about student councils- a major institution in American society.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_council

To be clear, the idea of student councils comes from the American educational philosopher John Dewey whom you may have heard of. Dewey was pretty instrumental in English-language schooling thought and pedagogy in English-speaking nations and also assisted the Chinese early in the 20th century in modernizing their schools as well.

He wrote a well regarded philosophical tract on education and democracy called “Democracy and Education”. You can read it in full (in English) here: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Democracy_and_Education

Within Africa, and outside South Africa, Kenya (and to a degree, Ghana)is the most advanced with student councils. Here’s a great article about their advance in that nation.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201004090866.html

And a report on these councils from one of its provincial governments (Central) which, of-course, are now called “county’s” after the new Constitutional change.

http://www.kssha.or.ke/ksshareports/reportoncentralprovince.pdf

There are ofcourse a VARIETY of ways to generate a whole new political class from Congolese youth- like perhaps a government funded Youth Corps that requires young people to spend a year or two assisting communities on various projects (build schools, clinics, other infrastructure, literacy, irrigation/farming, assisting older people, orphanages, etc) that develops their leadership ability in a democratic manner with perhaps an incentive of free university schooling when they complete it- but these should pique your creativity.

Cubans, Israeli’s, and Germans do a great job with youth leader programs as well so you may want to check out some of their programs.

Highly recommend Dewey’s treatise, however. Next to the works of philosopher and playwright Jean Genet, he’s among my favorites given his ideas have transformed education for democratic societies in much of the world.

Mel

Rich said...

BRUNO -

I’m so sorry to revert to this topic but I made a promise (I wish I did not…).

Question 1: Why do you think tshisekedi should be allowed to deal with Rwanda in 2002 and not L D Kabila in 1996?

Ref # “There is a serious problem of anachronism in your question that breaches the laws of formal logic (It’s as if you’re asking why did the Soviets test their first atomic bomb in 1949 and not the Americans in 1945).”

I think your example is irrelevant and is a misrepresentation of my question. I don’t know if this was done intentionally or you simply failed to understand my question! I say this because when I ask the question, I am looking at tshisekedi’s OWN attitude or interpretation of the relevance of dealing with Rwandan and not a complaint, launched in retrospective, on behalf of L D Kabila so that he too is allowed access to the same privileges tshisekedi offered himself to deal with Rwanda in 2002.

My point is, in 1996/1997 tshisekedi refused to join L D Kabila to oust a 32 years old dictatorial regime that completely destroyed the country; yet in 2002, because, L D Kabila was accompanied by Rwandan. However, in 2002 as you said, he allowed himself to deal with the same Rwanda to ‘safeguard the inter-Congolese dialogue.

Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to me you are presenting the ‘safe guarding of the inter-Congolese dialogue’ initiated by tshisekedi and his RCD allies as a highly important activity than ousting a 32 years old dictatorial regime as initiated by L D Kabila since the 1960s that reached its climax in 1996.

It is this kind of CONTRADICTIONS (I refuse to call them INCONSISTENCIES because some of you will quickly dismiss them as being a ‘rhetorical’ …) in his own attitude that I am more concerned with than if he is allowed to deal with x, y, or z in a given context …

Let’s also note that there are many examples showing contradictions but I simply used one.

Continuing ...

Rich said...

Question 2: Why have my comments against tshisekedi’s approach been perceived as ‘character assassination’ when tshisekedi himself referred to J Kabila as, quote, “that Rwandan”?

Ref # “Your comments were perceived as “character assassination” because they match Wikipedia’s definition of the term: “an attempt to tarnish a person's reputation. It may involve exaggeration, misleading half-truths, or manipulation of facts to present an untrue picture of the targeted person.”

Again, this is another misrepresentation of my question. Here again I don’t know if this was done on purpose!

It is interesting that you are expecting from me a standard that you simply fail to require from a person who is called to lead your country. I may be biased and all that you wish but is that a reason why tshisekedi should not behave in a statesperson? More on the statesperson in the following answer.

Ref # “While Tshisekedi’s assertion, if true, that Kabila is a Rwandan is a mere allegation.”

This is not a 'mere assertion', it is a solid FACT; you can follow it from the following link, minute 02:12.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSOPCgeFFjI

Ref # “Tshisekedi should take legal responsibility for his allegation, if indeed it was made, while Kabila has a right to defend himself.”

I agree with you and failing to do so after saying it so loudly and on the record is another major CONTRADICTION from a person we all know is a LAWYER. When I don’t call it CONTRADICTION I will call it HYPOCRISY because we know that udps has always used Congolese courts to settle some of its problems be it within the party or like recently against the CENI.

I say this because we all know that a foreigner is not allowed to be candidate in Congolese presidential election. Why, tshisekedi is running against a person he referred to as Rwandan without taking legal responsibility?

As you can see, I am not convinced tshisekedi has a clear vision of what he wants or indeed where he wants to lead the DRC because his own career is studded by big CONTRADICTIONS.

@Mwana

I just wanted to point to the fact that the Congolese quest for freedom and self-determination did not start with the letter by the 13 MPs. If for you that letter is a good representation of tshisekedi’s philosophy that is good but I just wanted to say that, when we cite that letter it may also be good to acknowledge people like Joseph Ngalula Pandanjila, Anaclet Makanda Shambuyi and the other MPS… who were not only COWRITERS of that letter.

Rich

Anonymous said...

" As you can see, I am not convinced that Tshisekedi has a clear vision of what he wants or indeed where he wants to lead the DRC because his own carrier is studded by contradictions ". - I thought that the exchange on ET was graciously closed. It looks like no matter the answer you receive on the subject of ET, this man will always be in your eyes unconvincing. You are entitled to your opinion of course but please let it go,those of us who appreciate his fight for the rule of law in the DRC will not be persuaded by your arguments. These arguments are trivial, if indeed ET ‘s career was full of contradictions as you put it,these perceived contradictions did not stop millions of Congolese to believe in his fight for the rule of law in the DRC and to be inspired. You are saying that people are misrepresenting your points (statements, questions…). I am coming to the conclusion that either you are not putting your points across clearly or that the people, who read you and respond to your tendentious statements about ET, are not smart enough to understand you. You do not like ET, we have seen that in your postings about him and it is your right. In the fight for the emancipation of the people in the DRC, your perceived contradictions in ET’carreer and your bias will not change the fact that millions of Congolese believe in his fight, which is theirs too. People like Ya Tshishi, warts and all

Anonymous said...

for those of us in the American left, this sounds so much like the debates about Obama.

"if he's so post racial, what's with the racist minister?"

"Ok, so he was against the war in the campaign, but, as a Senator, he voted to continue funding it?"

"wait! wait! he believed in change but then turned around and appointed former clinton staff?"

...or my favorite

"he spent debate after debate hammering Bush and Company for torture and rendition, but seems to be ok with knocking off american citizens? AND Guantanamo is still open!!!. This can't be 'change you can believe in'! This isn't fair!! He's just as corrupt as the others!! I want a my vote and Alan Grayson BACK!!!!!"

now, ofcourse, i realize the stakes are much higher but it is good to see such vigorous debate over ET.

just wish folks opened up more about kabila.

weird noone is mentioning him or discussing his legacy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:" just wish folks opened up more about kabila. weird no one is mentioning him or discussing his legacy:

Perhaps, we don't talk about Kabila, because unconsciously we agree that J. Kabila is an "historical accident" in DRC political "season of anomy".
Sometime fate plays funny tricks to people."

Congolese people like to say: "chance eloko pamba" or like you say in english " luck is what lucky does" you cannot argue about it.
unfortunately, in this case the joke is on us congolese.

Anonymous said...

Rich, coming from a congolese, you are so on the point !!!! many of my congolese brothers don't seem to remember history about Etienne Tshisekedi who they call today the father of the nation which disturbs me a great deal !

Anonymous said...

and Rich, you are so right about your predictions of Vital K. and the future of the political scene in DRC !!!!

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