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

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What will become of the national dialogue?

While international attention continues to focus on the M23––there have been persistent skirmishes to the north of Goma, a meeting between the government and the M23 in Kampala, and the death of the head of FDLR-Soki––the political opposition has been meeting in Kinshasa to decide on the way forward.

Since last Saturday, hundreds of opposition politicians have been hunkered down in the Limete neighborhood, trying to decide what to do about the national dialogue. Since the controversial 2011 elections, the opposition has been demanding such a dialogue, an initiative President Kabila seemed to endorse in his State of the Union address last December. The UN Security Council has also apparently thrown its weight behind the idea, asked the head of the peacekeeping mission to "promote inclusive and transparent political dialogue among all Congolese stakeholders with a view to furthering reconciliation and democratization" in Resolution 2098. 


But the various parties seem to have radically different visions of what this dialogue should be. In his decree of June 26, Kabila used the name Concertations nationales, and placed the heads of the national assembly and senate at the head of the "presidium," which will coordinate the meeting, control the funds, and––to the outrage of the opposition––unilaterally adopt the meeting's by-laws. Discussions will take place in the assembly, which will include hundreds of people from all political parties, customary chiefs, civil society, courts and public administration, experts, and "historical figures." It's hard to see how they will come to an agreement on anything, especially as the whole thing is only supposed to last for twenty days. And there is nothing to guarantee the implementation of these conclusions: President Kabila is simply required to report the conclusions to the Congolese people, after which he is apparently free to ignore them.

The opposition has, not surprisingly, called foul, and is pushing for a change to this decree to make the discussions more balanced and their conclusions more binding. We will have to wait for the end of the Limete conclave to know more, but the opposition is also becoming a victim of its own internal divisions. The two biggest opposition parties––the MLC and the UDPS––are not officially attending the conclave, although some UDPS members are present. The UDPS continues to suffer from the split created when a majority of its election parliamentarians refused to obey Etienne Tshisekedi's order not to take up their positions in the national assembly. Accusations are now piling up that Samy Badibanga, the leader of one of the UDPS factions in the national assembly, is growing too close to Kabila.

Things are hardly better within the MLC. Jean-Pierre Bemba continues to manage the party from his jail cell in The Hague––he made the decision not to attend the conclave, suspicious that the concertations would be a means for Kabila to co-opt the opposition through a government of national unity, and perhaps even to change to constitution to allow Kabila to stay in power past 2016. This remote-control-management has allowed relations to sour among the party's remaining leaders––Jean-Lucien Bussa and Thomas Luhaka have fallen out over how the party should be managed, most recently over who the MLC should send to the national election commission. Bemba reportedly believes that a verdict in his ICC case will be forthcoming this year, and that he could be let off with time served, despite the long list of MLC-defectors who have testified against him.

Meanwhile, the new head of the UN peacekeeping mission, Martin Kobler, has not yet arrived. When he does arrive in Kinshasa, he will have the unenviable task of trying to make sure the concertations do not turn into a farce. 




4 comments:

muana congo said...

As ever , thanks Jason for your amazing work on Congo’s affairs in the Kivus. To be honest, I don’t know if I fully understand the “bien fonde” of that “dialogue or concertation nationale”. I just don’t trust those Congolese politicians nor do I have “respect” for most of them. I am convinced that either those in power want to cling to it “anyhow”or those in the opposition want to join in in a so-called “government d’union nationale”. So they call all EAT the money nicely, idiots! We shall wait and see!

Just take this cretin/praise singer/flatterer called Evarist Boshab and his latest crap book about revising the Constitution to keep his patron JK beyond 2016. I mean it’s like Vunduawe and Gbanda blinding and getting astray Mobutu with “radical but suicidal” counsel. Where are we NOW with the “eagle of Kawele”? Much like Egypt’s Morsy who, though popular, thought he could change the “constitution” as he pleased! Short-sight!

I am just saying that these Congolese so-called “intellectuals” are the ones who have and are killing Congo. I mean, is there any country in the world that has in government so many “univ professors”, “PHDs” like DRC: just check at this DRCgov/parliament profiles you will be shocked.

I content that this “useless concentration” of “bookish theorist intellectuals” in the DRCgov/parliament is prejudicial to DRC progress. What DRC needs is not any more law/economics/politicalsciences/humanities graduates. Believe me we have more of those than any other African country minus Nigeria. NOW, DRC needs “problems solvers” like startegists/soldiers/nurses/teachers/ engineers/entrepreneurs…

God bless people soldiers: the FARDC!

muanacongo

congo man said...

I agree with muana Congo. I don't know why would President Kabila ask for this national concertation now.but the idea of tampering with the constitution by the AMP is starting to look more and more inevitable.this move by Jk ,and Bosha is dangerous and might back fire and give their opposition strong ammunitions to paint JK as another MOBITU who wants to cling to power for life no matter what . I was also shocked by the response from the opposition ,calling on MARY ROBINSON and the BRAZZAVILLE dictator DENNIS SASSU NGUESO to come and supervise their counter offer of a national dialogue.calling on DENNIS SASSU a dictator who has been in power for 3 decades and does not tolerate any form of decent or opposition like if SASSU or his CONGO BRAZZA was more democratic than JK or the DRC just demonstrate how stupid the so called opposition can be. if BOSHAB and president KABILA wants to keep power for their PPRD or the AMP they have to stop this dangerous constitution game and instead put up a MOISE KATUMBI -MATATA PONYO dream team for 2016 .those2 political heavyweight will have the support of the majority of the Congolese population and also a strong backing from the international Community.they will also guarantee president KABILA his security and I don't see how can a very weak ,corrupt , divided,irresponsible opposition drunk on tribalism can defeat that dream team in 2016. I don't trust any Congolese politician but governor KATUMBI and Premier MATATA have proven to be the least if not only non corrupt,responsible and smart politicians in the DRC for this moment .a president KATUMBI and a premier MATATA is what the DRC needs in 2016 if we want to move forward as an emerging African super power .

Congo Voice said...

There are good reasons to believe that dialogues or conclaves yield very little and never really address the root-causes of our difficulties. This has been the case since the January 1960's round-table talks in Brussels and all other conclaves we have had in Congo. However, we cannot give up. We have to keep trying. Hopefully, one day we will realise that the longer we hold on to our differences and narrow interests the more difficult it will be for Congo to fulfil its destiny. Congo's destiny is to be amongst the greatest nations within and beyond Africa.

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