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, November 8, 2011

Transcript of Tshisekedi interview


Original language: Lingala.  This is an unofficial English transcript.

Reporter: The echoes are raging in Kinshasa that you are still in South Africa to establish contacts with the ANC, the party with which you plan to collaborate in managing Congo tomorrow,and, in addition, in Kinshasa, Kisangani, the people are growing impatient and would like to know when you will be back home because it’s already been more than a week since the campaign has begun, there are many problems in Congo, the problems of planes…He will present his schedule, the program of Kisangani, Lubumbashi and we will give his telephone number to the public, the Congolese are impatient to know when you will return to Congo !

Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba: By mid-week I will be in Kisangani, so there is no problem. But those who say that Kabila would stop my aircraft from landing in Congo, they know nothing about the real situation, Kabila does not represent anything anymore. There is only him and his wife left, because he is not even the minority leader any longer. For this same minority has sold him out! Guys like Boshab, Mende currently have a double standard talk, in the morning they talk one way and another at night. Finally, they let him go. Therefore he can’t prevent the majority leader’s aircraft from landing, because in a democracy, it is the majority who leads and I'm the head of the majority. So, I'm the President of the DRC,  I am the actual Head of State.

Reporter: “Son of the country“ E. Tshisekedi wa Mulumba, here  we are swarmed by Congolese people who came to listen to you live. They ask you to repeat your last statements.

Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba: As I said, we don’t need to wait for the elections. In a democracy, whoever has the power is the majority of the people. And the people of Congo, in its majority have chosen and trust Tshisekedi. Therefore, from this day on I am the Head of State of the DRC.

Reporter: “Son of the country“ E. Tshisekedi wa Mulumba, since we have put up your campaign ads where you say “People come first“, people answer Tshisekedi comes first, it has become a form of greeting in Kinshasa. But yesterday, did you get the news from Katanga? Where supporters of a party have gone to bother and fight the opposition’s supporters, what do you say to that?

Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba: First, you must know that this problem doesn’t come from another party, these incidents are to be blamed on Unafec, a party whose president is a foreigner, a Portuguese named Doliveira. He calls himself NKIUNGU to pretend make believe he is Congolese, he isn’t Congolese, he’s Portuguese.

Second, I just said that I am the Head of the Congo because I have the majority. The Congolese, or rather the compatriots who are in Lubumbashi and in all of Katanga, know well that the majority, well, that’s them! And in a democracy, power is in the hands of the majority and not the minority. Thus, they shouldn’t have left a small handful of people led by a "lunatic, a foreigner" who’s making up the laws over there. They had to teach them a lesson and follow them to their retrenchment because the majority cannot always complain.

Also, I take this opportunity to tell the so-called leaders of Congo who are listening to me that I have learned our brothers in Kinshasa, Mbuji-Mayi, Lubumbashi are imprisoned. Therefore, I give them 48 hours, next Tuesday at noon I would like to receive the news that no opponent remains in prison. If it is not so, Tuesday at noon, I will ask my base wherever they are, in Kinshasa, Mbuji-Mayi, Kananga and Lubumbashi to mobilize everywhere and set free the supporters and other opponents and break all the prisons.

And if unfortunately, police officers and other soldiers come to bother them, then they should be taught a lesson. And if they flee to the camps they should be hunted all the way out there and followed to their camp where they will receive a good punishment even in front of their family!

Reporter: So you're saying if by Tuesday, supporters and opponents are not freed, you will give the order to the Congolese who are your base to take responsibility! Therefore to go free them by force and that no one is to interfere with them. But the big question remains in Congo when will you return to Congo?

Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba: Isn’t Kisangani in Congolese territory?

Reporter: But which day will you land in Kisangani?

Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba: I said earlier in the middle of the week that is now starting, since then I will have finished my errands. Once this is done, I will give precision 48 hours ahead because I will come with my own plane, so there is no problem.

Reporter: So what do you say to the Congolese regarding the elections?

Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba: For the elections, the message is simple as I said earlier the Head of the country remains the Congolese people, so Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba we ensure the electoral process in our country.

Mr NGOY MULUNDA, if he does not pay attention to everything we tell him he will cry in his mother tongue on December 6.

Therefore rest assured, as it is you who have the election in your hands, it is you that are going to choose, no more worrying about having insomnia, do not worry and sleep like babies! Now talk to my advisor BONA who will give you my number to be in contact with you and therefore receive all election-related concerns generated either by the PPRD, the CSAC and others.

Advisor BONA: 0027790893872.


Anand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anand said...

Well, that's some unproductive rhetoric. Thanks for posting the transcript (and translating) Jason. Phrases like, "they should be taught a lesson," "good punishment," and "cry in his mother toungue" are wholly irresponsible and decidedly dangerous. Is there any reason Tshisekedi is wary of returning to Congo? This just seems like fuel to the fire. In regard to the post about unrest in Goma, a friend there told me that a famous Hunde had been kidnapped, major roads to downtown had been closed, demonstrations around the governor's mansion, a girl almost killed because thought to be from a "hostile tribe," and allegedly a UN soldier was attacked but escaped. All unconfirmed, just word of mouth. But given the potential for violence, I really hope a voice of calm emerges from within the Congolese fold. I haven't heard much from Kashala. Little chance of winning so no coverage I guess. But this would be a time for someone to surface with a calming message.

mbelekete said...

Wonder what the very legalist Kengo Wa Dondo has to say about these statements

Anonymous said...

Actually, its much more intense in spoken Lingala. Like all African languages, it is a tonal one. Which means tone carries particular weight for the speaker to those whom he/she is speaking.

On this account, Etienne's words are like fire which was clearly meant to ignite.

There really must be more ways for the Congolese to express dissent. It can't happen in just 30 days before an election and on the streets. Its like tying up a man, cutting off his genitals, and muzzling him and then, after this is done, expecting him to calmly say he's hurting.

You read or listen to Radio Okapi and it is unmistakable the demonstrations, violence, aggressive radio shows and the like are the Congolese screaming for help. Yes, its not helpful nor is all of unintentional but it clearly demonstrates people's frustrations at the lack of change and improvement in their lives is boiling over.

Yes, Anand. I do hope a voice of calm, like Kashala's, rises to the fore to calm everyone down and put the focus back on campaigning.

I really do hope this comes soon.


congo man said...

You need to stop dramatizing things, out of 13 presidential candidates, only CHISEKEDI is calling for violence and it's only him and his UDPS that are not campaigning. President KABILA,VITAL KAMERHE,KENGO WA DONDO,OSCAR KASHAL...are all campaigning and none of them is talking crazy or calling their supporters to violence.but sins you westerners only wish violence and destruction for the D.R.C,now you are trying to use CHISEKEDI's irresponsible behavior to subotage this ellections.out of 300 and more tribes only the BALUBA tribe of kasai are going to listen to CHISEKEDI, that means he has no power to derail this elections. if CHISEKEDI thinks this is the 1980s ZAIRE he is dreaming.

Anonymous said...

Because of his recent interview, i will no longer vote for him. I am back to Kabila!

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of statement that made Tshisekedi more popular during Mobutu's era. This is just a psychological campaign that will really make people more aware of his presence. This has an effect of more than 1 year of campaigning.

Anonymous said...

Koko, we don't need this kind of thinking that has made our country underdevelopped for decades. We have had politicians who have used this tribalism to fight against him. One should not judge some body, based on his tribe or his origin. Tshisekedi is a congolese and has a very strong personality compared to Kengo, Kashala and all the others. For him to be involved in in the governance of a democratic "Congo" will surely bring some kind of discipline that congolese have lacked for decades. Unless you want Kagame to be president of the DRC...

Anonymous said...


You and I have tangoed before on Engwete's blog. So, for the record, it is just not true that Americans (that which I am) wish either a delay or destruction. I know its easy to see nothing but vileness from Americans but this simply isn't true and is particular so right now given our own challenges.

I'd also add that not a single American picked up a machete and hacked off a limb of a Congolese man or ripped open the fistula of a Congolese woman. If you can find evidence of such American brutality do let us know but, as I've said before here, some measure of Congolese agency is in order when discussing (and resolving) the nation's challenges.

High order.

I entirely agree with Anonymous Nov 9th 6:06 AM. Let's try to focus on the issues and not tribe. Last time I checked virtually all tribes are suffering in the Congo. It is perfectly fine not to vote for Etienne but that should stem from your views of his character, program, and past achievements in politics. I have white and black American friends who have spent their entire lives in the Congo, married Congolese men and women, have mixed children, speak all of its languages, and pay taxes to various authorities on their businesses. Anyone of them could govern the Congo or their children.

I promise to stop "dramatizing things" if you promise to look past what appears to be racism and bigotry in assessing Etienne and the Luba.

Congo has enough challenges as it is...bigotry- towards any ethnic or tribal group- doesn't need to be added to the growing list of them in my view.


Anonymous said...

.N. sees violent Congo election as police take sides
Posted on November 9, 2011


Political manipulation of Congo’s security forces has brought crackdowns on opposition parties and may lead to bloodshed in this month’s election, the United Nations said in a report Wednesday.

New York based-Human Rights Watch said the U.N. report documented just a fraction of the actual abuses. The European Union and African Union issued separate warnings of a deteriorating political situation in the central African country.

Congo is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on November 28, but preparations are far behind schedule, the early stages of campaigning have been increasingly violent and there are fears of results being challenged in unrest.

The report, produced by the U.N.’s Joint Human Rights Office, documented 188 cases of election-related violence between November 2010 and September 2011.

“The report notes worrying trends of manipulation of the state’s police, intelligence and justice sectors by political actors,” it said in its introduction.

The report added: “A trend seems to be emerging wherein parties are targeted more often in regions where they have significant numbers of followers and are predicted to be the biggest threat against the ruling majority and the President.”

Etienne Tshisekedi, one of Kabila’s main rivals, has a strong following in the teeming capital, Kinshasa, as well as the southern Kasai provinces. …

The U.N. said at least four people have been killed during political demonstrations so far.

Continued repression and rights abuses “may increase the likelihood of individuals and political parties resorting to violent means, endanger the democratic process and lead to post-electoral violence,” the U.N. report said.

Congo’s head of police was not immediately available for comment. Lambert Mende, Congo’s minister of communications, said he was not aware of a report but such charges were politicized.

“It is totally unfair to our police, they are suffering, they are doing their job. We shall succeed in these elections and Congo will be for the Congolese,” he added.

Post-war elections in 2006 were widely backed by the U.N. and other donors. This time Kinshasa is taking the lead in running the poll itself.


The 2006 vote was followed by several bouts of urban gun battles between Kabila’s forces and those loyal to former rebel Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was defeated in a run-off vote.

This time, analysts say the threat of violence is more likely to stem from street protests.

The U.N. report was released as the world body’s peacekeeping mission said it was “deeply concerned” by the rising spate of pre-electoral violence across the country.

The EU’s election observer team also issued a statement criticized the muzzling of pro-opposition media, and warned politicians against inciting violence.

For its part, the AU called for restraint and condemned statements by Tshisekedi earlier this week, in which he declared himself already president.

A law banning insults against the head of state has been used to prosecute people who criticized Kabila, and police agents have beaten, threatened and arrested civilians just for wearing opposition T-shirts, the U.N. report said.

It said an opposition supporter has been in detention since March 18 for possessing a journal questioning Kabila’s nationality. The east, which voted heavily for Kabila in 2006, was of particular concern, it added.

Ida Sawyer, Congo researcher for Human Rights Watch, said aggression by the security forces “has created a climate of fear and risks undermining the credibility of the elections.”

(Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Peter Graff)

Rich said...

After following politics in DRC for the last 30 years, if not more, if anything, I can always bet money on etienne tshisekedi to commit a BLUNDER at a crucial moment in the political cycle and I will always WIN big; because he will never disappoint...

The same defects that have kept etienne tshisekedi in alleged opposition, will always help him extend the life expectancy of his stay out of government.

My theory regarding tshisekedi’s recent circus is, any seeming sense of success easily intoxicates the man up to the point where the drift into anticipating his hypothetical future role (as 1er Ministre; head of state?) is so irresistible. This then prompts him to completely lose touch with reality and to act erratically as we’ve witnessed not only this week; but also all along his sterile political career.

@ Mel -

Just to note that you gave incorrect information about tshisekedi being in Kisangani... Independent sources said until Wednesday 9 Nov 2011, 3 p, Kisangani time Etienne tshisekedi was not in Kisangani …

Ref # “Yes, Etienne is now in Kisangani according to Congolese friends who live there… So it begins...”
[Mel: NOVEMBER 7, 2011 10:33 PM ]


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Rich.

You are correct. I was told by a friend in Kisangani that he had arrived. He had been misinformed as well. Just shows one needs quite a few levels of due diligence when it comes to the Congo.


Johanna Jansson said...

Thanks a lot for this Jason

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