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Opinion: President Kabila uses the argument of financial restraint to postpone the elections; Any tricks to stay I assume!

There was scheduled Presidential Elections in November 2016, as the end of the second official term of President Joseph Kabila would end on the 19th December 2016. However, we are in January 2018 and days away from February 2018. Still, there are no credible movement or changes within the leadership or the government to prepare for a genuine exercise of a new election. It’s unlikely that CENI will deliver, not matter sort of international pressure. That is proven by the first Press Conference in ages or years from the President himself who said this:

“The election budget is 1.2 billion dollars, and I say it quite often, the elections in this country are starting to cost us a lot more than even the development of the country. And at some point we will have to make a choice, will it be necessary to be cited around the world as the most democratic country, or is the development that counts?” he said” (…) “Today, we are nearing the end of enlistment operations in Kasai. We are more or less 46 million voters enlisted. The elections in this country is a vast operation,” said Joseph Kabila” (…) ““We must take the most courageous options and decisions not to fall or fall back into the situation with a budget of 1.2 billion for elections, while we have a total budget of 6 or 7 billions,” added the Congolese president” (Xuequan, 2018).

What is striking that he is using the defense of budget and funds. While his own Republic who had scheduled this ever since he won in November 2011. Could have planned funds ahead for a coming election. If they are a serious government and if it is such a big operations, why did the Kabila government plan it earlier?

A thing that the President should be careful about, is that United Kingdom has already spent funds on Electoral Operations and Electoral Organizations in the years ahead of the 2016 and still supports it with funding. This they do together with United States Aid (USAID). The Development tracker proves that the UK has already donated £6,6m in April 2015 to technical support to the National Electoral Body (CENI), from the same donors £3,5m in April 2015 to civic education, also in April 2015 gotten £2,5m to Election Observers through the Carter Center. In October 2016, the UK donated to promote woman participation in the Election a total of £1m. The DFID has already also pledged for supporting the Electoral Process in total £14,5m. This is just from one Nation to another. That is funds that is already spent and misused. While he is crying foul.

President Kabila should be careful playing with fire, especially since he is creating insecurity with his position. That someone is speaking of delaying election into April 2019. There was already rumored in August 2017 that it would either be in 2019 or 2020. So it is not to far off, after the new timeline was released in November 2017. That was a year after the term ended. Still, there was no international outcry, neither was anyone really supporting the CENCO initiative or trying to force Kabila out.

Kabila has been allowed to stall for time, to buy time and awaiting his next move. Since he didn’t change the Constitution like many other clinging to power Presidents. That was one of his foolish moves, since he really doesn’t want to step and give way for a legitimate President in the Republic. His term already ended 434 days ago or 1 year two months and 8 days ago.

So the saga continues and the postponed election will continue. If it is insecurity or lacking of funds continue. He will use that for his own gain, as reasons not to step down. That if there is coming militias or militants from Burundi, Rwanda or Uganda. While refugees are fleeing from the Republic to Uganda and Angola. Because of the insecurity in North and South Kivu’s, also in Kasai Province. This has not let go.

So I don’t expect any election in 2019 or following the timeline of November 2017. The CENI or Kabila administration has no plan to achieve a new Presidential Election, where Kabila has to step-down. I don’t expect a President who has already registered himself twice for the elections. That he uses expenses and that its a big operation as an excuse. Shows that since he first talked about it now, that he wants to make sure the world knows he is struggling. Even if he could have planned it together with CENI all through 2014 to 2016. Where the timeline could have been met and also fixed the succession. However, President Kabila had no interest of securing his own self leaving power. Therefore, nothing has happen.

Now he has extended his time and showed up in public for a press conference after using brutality and killing demonstrators. Had to show the world he cared and was working on solution. Even if he isn’t, it’s hard to believe he is doing anything when he is already 1 year and 2 months over his ended term. So the ones who has supported the DRC with financial aid between 2015 to 2017 for purpose of Elections, you have been tricked and given money for nothing. That is proven.

Kabila is stalling and using all tricks in the book. Expect Kabila to have more trouble with militias and insecurity, as he is the only key to stop the violence. Even if he initially sponsor it or has connections to the ones who make sure it happens. That is what is very ill about the whole situation. Peace.

Reference:

Xuequan, Mu – ‘ DR Congo: President Kabila calls on politicians to choose between elections and development’ (27.01.2018) link: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-01/27/c_136927896.htm

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The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Condemns the Recent Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (22.01.2018)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 22, 2018 – The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat, strongly condemns the violence following demonstrations organized on 21 January 2018 in Kinshasa, and deplores the reported loss of life.

The Chairperson of the AUC encourages the Congolese stakeholders to fully honour the commitments entered into, on the 31st December 2016, in order to consolidate the gains made and deepen democracy in the country. He further stresses the importance of confidence-building measures and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Furthermore, he reiterates the call for the proportionate use of force in the maintenance of law and order.

The Chairperson calls on all political actors to create a conducive environment for the conduct of free, transparent and fair elections on 23rd December 2018 and urges all concerned to ensure that the electoral calendar is strictly complied with.

The Chairperson reiterates that the AUC will continue to engage all the Congolese stakeholders to show restraint and promote dialogue in the interest of stability in the DRC.

The Commission will also continue to avail support towards the holding of peaceful and transparent elections and calls on the international community at large to provide the financial and logistical support in order to meet the timelines set by the Commission Électorale Nationale Indépendente (CENI).

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (22.01.2018)

NEW YORK, United States of America, January 22, 2018 – The Secretary-General is disturbed by reports of the killing on Sunday of at least six people during protests calling for the full implementation of the 31 December 2016 political agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Reports also suggest that 63 people were injured. He calls on the Congolese authorities to conduct credible investigations into these incidents and to hold those responsible accountable.

The Secretary-General urges the Congolese security forces to exercise restraint and to uphold the Congolese people’s right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. He also calls upon all concerned to ensure full respect for places of worship.

The Secretary-General, once again, calls on Congolese political actors to work towards the full implementation of the 31 December political agreement, which remains the only viable path to the holding of elections, the peaceful transfer of power and the consolidation of stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General
New York, 22 January 2018

RDC: CENCO – “Bilan provisioire de la marche pacifique organisee par le Comite Laic de Coordination (CLC) le diamanche 21 janvier 2018” (22.01.2018)

RDC: Declaration du Comite Laic de Coordination (CLC) – (22.01.2018)

RDC: Nonciature Apostolique en Republique Democratique du Congo – “Note Technique – Bilan Provisoire de la Marche du 21 Janvier 2018 (Selon Provinces Ecclesiastiques)” (21.01.2018)

RDC: L’Union Des Minstres Chretiens Francophones du Sud (UMCFS) – “Concerne: La position de l’UMCFS face a la Situation du Pays” (19.01.2018)

RDC: Moise Katumbi – “Declaration de soutien a l’appel du Comite Laic pour la marche du 21 janvier 2018” (20.01.2018)

RDC: Rassemblement – “Communique du Rassemblement Relatif a l’Appel du Comite Laic de Coordination pour la Marche Pacifique de Ce Dimanche 21 Janvier 2018 (18.01.2018)

Democratic Republic of Congo: UN Agencies in Urgent Bid to Prevent Famine in Kasai (18.01.2018)

Only 400,000 out of the 3.2 million severely food insecure people in Kasai received assistance in December.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, January 18, 2018 – In a stark warning, three UN agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) – say time is running out to save hundreds of thousands of lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Farmers  – who fled due to conflict – have missed three consecutive planting seasons. This has left people with almost nothing to eat. Food assistance is failing to fill the gap. Only 400,000 out of the 3.2 million severely food insecure people in Kasai received assistance in December. More than 750,000 are still displaced. Around 630,000 people have returned to their burned down villages after hiding in the forest, they must be helped to resume food production. Over ninety percent of rural communities depend entirely on agriculture.

“Agriculture is the only way to become productive again. Not only does it generate food and income for families, but it restores hope, dignity and self-reliance”, said Alexis Bonte, FAO Representative ad interim in the DRC.

The nutritional status of children is particularly critical. “At least 400,000 children under five have severe, acute malnutrition,” said UNICEF’s Acting Representative in the DRC, Tajudeen Oyewale. “They are likely to die unless they urgently receive health, water, sanitation and nutrition support. Longer-term food security must be restored and feeding and care practices improved so that children can have access to the adequate quality food they need.”

The UN and its partners are racing against time to feed the people of Kasai, fight malnutrition among its children and build resilience. But the odds are stacked against them: infrastructure is limited, security poor and the cash short.

“There are signs that donors are beginning to respond, but resources are woefully inadequate given to the scale of human suffering”, said WFP’s Country Director in DRC, Claude Jibidar.  “The Congolese government and the international community must re-engage on all fronts to prevent a major famine in Kasai. Failure to do so, immediately and collectively, means many people will die.”

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