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

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Updates: CENI, army ranks and remembering LDK

A few stories of interest:
  • The national assembly has finally approved the composition of the new electoral commission (CENI). It will be composed of Ngoy Mulunda, Flavien Misoni, Elisée Nkoy and Matthieu Mpita for the majority AMP; and Jacques Ndjoli, Laurent Ndaye and Carole Kabanga for the opposition. They will now consensually elect a new president to replace Abbé Malu Malu. 
  • I have posted the long list (several thousand) of officers who were recently promoted here. I have not gone through it too rigorously, but (unlike I had previously reported) notorious human rights offenders like Col. Gwigwi, Col. Zimurinda and Col. Ngaruye have all been confirmed as colonels; the commander of the troops who recently sacked Fizi and raped women there, Kibibi Mutware, was confirmed at Lt. Col.
  • Sunday was the tenth anniversary of the assassination of President Laurent-Desiré Kabila. Whatever one may think of him - he was a bombastic but erratic visionary, committed to military solutions even when these were no longer feasible - he was a gifted speaker. Here are some clips:


Anonymous said...


In your estimation, where is Kabila weakest? And by this I mean, where or what pillar would need to be weakened so as to severely loosen the foundations of his power but simultaneously increase the confidence of the Congolese and thereby strengthen its democracy?

I am sure they are several places, but which one or two areas do you believe if he would lose support he, and his corrupt clique, would be finished? Both internal and external.

Thank you.

ps. And when/if you respond, please try to avoid caveats. Such as, “he could be weakened by X, but this would cause Y”. Just, if you can, name weaknesses.

Anonymous said...

@ Melissa

Did you get the email I sent to you few days ago about congo?
To respond to your question for Jason if I could, H.KANAMBE aka J. KABILA'S weakest is that he is UNPOPULAR every where in congo. He can not win a free and fair election in congo. He relies in corruption and intimidation. For instance, to pass constitution revision, He gave each MP $25,000 for AMP deputies, and more $50,000 for opposition deputies, that's more 13 millions US dollars.

Anonymous said...

Anon #1

I sure did get your email. It was very helpful!

So as to define this more clearly you mention two areas of weakness:

- his unpopularity
- his untenable hold on his clique which leads to bribery and intimidation

Thus, of these two, where is he the weakest? I realize both are related to the other but of the two:

- where is he particularly weak and such that the Congolese have some measure of control over?
- what could those who wish to see him go actually do to weaken this further?
- in doing so, how could this unify the Congolese, enhance their confidence to confront this regime, and strengthen their democracy all at once?

Really give this last question some thought. .

This is essential in my view.


Rich said...

- Melissa,

How do you mean? Are you planning to take J Kabila's power down?

If that's the case, I don't understimate your resolve; but, I just find it a bit naive to have to expose it here in such a way! and I doubt the Tunisia case (if that's the inspiring point) can serve as a classic example for the DRC. Things are far too complex and overlapping than many may think.

Anyway, just a random opinion that you can ignore.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for that wonderful non-answer, Rich!


Unknown said...

Is it true that General Munene Faustin was arrested in Congo-Brazzaville? I just read it on AfroAmerica Network here:

If it is true, then Jason was right when he said the chap Munene had launched "a armyless rebellion".

Anonymous said...

Mr.kabila is not popular everywhere in the congo except Katanga,bandundu,Maniema and oriental Province(these last three will lead to him if he will make alliance).If the opposition want to create a force and have a chance to win the election, it has to form an alliance(UDPS,MLC and UNC) and come up with one leader who will face Kabila. Here is my estimation about Congolese population in each province and I think this election will be based on that:Kinshasa(7 millions),Bas-Congo(3 millions),Bandundu(6 millions),Equateur(6 millions),Kasai occidental(6 millions),Kasai oriental(6 millions),kivus(8 millions),katanga(7 millions),Oriental province(5 millions)and Maniema(3 millions).If UDPS,MLC and UNC have one leader, Kinshasa,Equateur,kivus and kasais will go to their favor( estimated number of votes:15-26 millions).kabila will have Bandundu,Katanga,Bandundu(Palu),Maniema and Oriental Province(Palu and other alliances)(estimated number of votes:15-21 millions). However,We still have Bas-congo and CNDP will complicate things in Kivus(Kabila is also from East). Kengo, we do not know his position and he might complicate things in Equateur.Kabila has also money.He may buy t-shirt and food for his/her voters.kasai occidental and oriental are not composed mainly of luba tribes, some tribus(Kuba, songye,Tetela and others) will go to Mr. Kabila. Kabila may have a chance to win but with a small percentage if there is an alliance between the opposition groups.With the alliance between the opposition groups, the result will be closer and we might see another Ivory coast scene.

Anonymous said...

What a fascinating question, Melanie.

What is Kabila’s Achilles heel? Well, I am sure Jason has a much better idea than most but I will give it a shot.

I am assume the purpose of the question is really how one seeks to undermine this regime.

Here are some weaknesses:

- his popularity in the East, his electoral base, is waning.
- without a good $3 billion from the West he will not be able to pay anyone
- unrest, however spotted, appears to be growing and is mostly directed at the ineptitude of the state to provide consistent services
- the buy-off for so many for this revision indicates that all is not well in his majority and, moving forward, he may not be able to do this as much in the future.
- his security forces are largely unmanageable and riven with division
- the recent injection of the greenback to stabilize the currency portends an economy- official or black- that clearly isn’t functioning.

There are others but for the sake of the post I will stop here.

Now, I assume what you really want to know is a) which of these can be exploited b) which can be done in a manner that weakens him, unites the Congolese, and strengthens their democracy?

Of these, the former union organizer in me says his declining popularity in the East. If the opposition can cut, and cut deep, into this pocket of support Kabila is finished. Its like Florida or Ohio in America. Whoever wins one wins the Presidency.

However, I also assume you want to do more than just get rid of Kabila. And, indeed, the aim of the activists I know in the Congo is this as well. Thus, weakening his position in the East- alone - will not “unite the Congolese” nor “strengthen their democracy”. It could but in a fairly peripheral way.

For this.Melissa, there needs to be something akin to salt during the Indian independence movement or the bus system in Montgomery for the civil rights. Something, some symbol of state oppression or incompetence that all Congolese live with daily that, in protesting it, could bring down the entire system.

Recently, Vital Kamerhe, a particularly wily politician, suggested using the provision in the Constitution that allows 100,000 Congolese to petition a change in the Constitution- assuming a majority of the Assembly votes for it- which would further lead to a referendum. Vital is considering a petition to return voting rounds back to two as opposed to the one as a result of the constitution revision. Most activists I know in Congo find this to be a fairly weak and conservative use of this tantalizing option of democratic change but Vital could use something like this to awaken the grassroots which is always a good thing.

But, for me, I keep coming back to this question of what is the Congolese’s salt or bus ticket? It is a question I have posed to my organizer friends in the Congo and one that are studying.

Indeed, it is up to them to figure it out and for those of us of good will abroad to support it.

Sorry this doesn’t directly answer your question. :)


Richard Mwamba said...

Life is evolving, I don't think, based on what has taken place in the last 10 years since Kanambe came to power. I was shocked to learn that our brothers and sisters in the Great Kivu have died more during Kanambe's tenure than the combined Mobutu and LDK's eras. People in Kivu are more bitter towards Kanambe than any other citizens. He has proved to them that he is not one of them. People in Katanga are mad at him as he refused to allow and independent commission to investigate LDK's death. Which bring doubt to most Katanga citizen to believe he is not the son of the Great LDK as alleged. How can he catch a single vote in Bandundu when it is known that whatever affetcs Kin affects Bandundu, whatever Kin decides Bandundu and Bas-Congo adopt. Kanambe must think about how to exit politics peacefully before he is dubbed war criminal.

Anonymous said...

@Richard Muamba,during this election,Kabila will form an alliance with Palu and others to get people from Bandundu(Look also at dam that kabila is building in order to give them electricity and get their votes).The same will happen in kasai occidental and oriental where he is looking a share of vote with the opposition by building Katende dam.These dams may not be completed but he just wants to win election. For Katanga,you know that Katumbi Mwake and the governor Moise are still there.People from Kivus and Katanga are people that can say something today and changed it tomorrow.if you look at the history of the Congo ,you will see how these people were manipulated by politicians for their own interests.If the east region is not secured, it is because some politicians manipulate the population for their own interests and business(besides Kinshasa, many houses are built there).

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