Today, Vital Kamerhe the Chief of Staff for President Felix Tshisekedi was sentenced to 20 years of forced labour, massive fines and losing his civic duties and opportunity to have a public office in the next 10 years too. This is a giant blow to him, but will also have political ramification beyond the sentencing itself.
Kamerhe (UNC) and Tshisekedi (UDPS) made an alliance before the last election (2018), this was the Cap pour le changement (CACH). This agreement was between them and their two parties l’Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social (UDPS) and l’Union pour la nation congolaise( UNC). This was a game changer.
I have no doubt that Kamerhe was corrupt and has done his dirt. Deserving like any citizen to answer for his crimes and be sentenced today. However, with his stature, role in government and as a running mate to the President. This opens up a can of worms. As he was the leader of the UNC, which is one half of the CACH. It is kind of hard to not see the issues.
Yes, the CACH made secret deals behind the closed doors with Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC). With the fall of Kamerhe, the support there is ideal for the President. But with the fall of Kamerhe his losing the balance within the government and might even get open dissent from former allies. This might be seen as a betrayal of their alliance and also coalition they made. All of that wouldn’t be shocking either, as the UNC has defended their leader is statements since his arrest.
For the UDPS directly they are in pickle. They either got to promote someone else from the UNC or they got to disband the alliance and only focus on the FCC. The FCC is Kabila and Kabila is the FCC. The FCC have never denied that and been adamant about it.
We can wonder how this will affect the relations between them all. As one of the three kingpins are behind bars. Tshisekedi and Kabila is living large, while Kamerhe is in the pen. That is the reality of this. The CACH should practically be dead and this is the funeral of it.
As the CACH are getting the merciful death by the slingshot of getting rid of Kamerhe. We can wonder how the FCC and UDPS will play this one out. Since they let this happen and it happened on their watch. Yes, Kamerhe was corrupt, but so has the whole system been. Getler and Kabila can write books on it and their shady deals behind closed doors. Therefore, we know Kamerhe is just a fitting target here.
The UDPS better consolidate and we better see the President suddenly appear again with Kabila. Like they have done in the past. Having suddenly meetings to iron out their differences. This would make sense now. Since they have no practically assaulted the UNC as one of their allies.
Tshisekedi isn’t alone in power. His still the puppet of Kabila. If he like that? Well, that is the choice he made with the secret deals behind closed doors after the 2018 election. Now that he have betrayed his coalition mate and with the sentence he got. We know this is the end of the road for Vital. Then we can wonder who will trust Felix now?
Unless, he like to be used and toyed around with. Yes, they made an example of Kamerhe. That is why the ones in office now should thread the waters carefully. If Tshisekedi can do this to Vital. Begs me to question: What could he do to you? Peace.
Now after two days of Demonstrations in Beni and also demonstrations in Butembo in the Province of the North Kivu. This is happening as the ADF/ADF-NALU is causing more casualties, more fatalities, as the citizens doesn’t feel secured by the army nor the peacekeepers (MONUSCO). All of this in a region and a province that has been battling militias for two decades. There been several of militias in the region supported by foreigners in Rwanda and Uganda. These been supported with reinforcement, with ammunition and training across the borders.
Therefore, the reality of North Kivu province is dire. Not like the peacekeepers nor the army has any control. The numbers over the last two years are tragic. So many innocent lives taken by the means of insurgents and lack of responsibility from the powers in Kinshasa. There is a lack of will, to support and be there for the civilians in North Kivu. If the army and the Republic cared, they would have tackled this head-on. As this is years and years on end.
The numbers of killings reported by UN Experts on the DRC in June 2019. The UN reports reported there was 78 killed in 2018 in the Beni region, by April 2019 there was reports of 121. This means the UN has registered 199 deaths in between 2018 to April 2019. That is 16 months and that 16 people a month on the regular. This being both killings of MONUSCO Peacekeepers, FARDC soldiers and also civilians. Therefore, this is a lot of casualties in just one region.
I don’t have verified numbers between April and November 2019. Which means there is most likely more casualties and more fatalities, which isn’t recorded or been reported en-mass. That would have shown the whole picture. So, I will end on the recent month, this November, but the UN Experts Report and this shows the amounts of killings and systematic it is. If we would for argument sake, say that the fatalities continued in the same fashion as it has been from January 2018 to April 2019. With 16 per month and it continued up to November 2019. That means There is another 128 more fatalities, but my reckoning that’s just mere speculation. As I don’t have any numbers in the time between April and November.
Well, with that being said, November 2019 has been bloody too. There is report of a total of 69 dead after skirmishes of ADF in the Beni region. Beni is burning and steadily so. The FARDC and MONUSCO isn’t able to beat the ADF/ADF-NALU.
Skirmishes from ADF this November:
“Since 30 October 2019, the Congolese government has launched military operations in North Kivu, in the Beni territory, with the aim of neutralizing the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), one of the deadliest armed groups in eastern DRC, which emerged from an Islamist rebellion of Ugandan origin. Since then, ADF attacks have been ongoing on the outskirts of the city of Beni. The attacks target the Congolese armed forces but also civilians, with multiple brutal killings. On 5 November, ten civilians including six women, were killed in an attack in Kokola. This first mass killing has been followed by many other abuses (murders, kidnappings, house fires, looting, etc.) on a daily basis since 15 November 2019. Some AFD attacks against the Congolese forces are claimed by Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP)” (European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations – ‘DRC – Rapid and intense deterioration of the humanitarian situation in North Kivu, Beni (UN, DG ECHO)’ 20.11.2019).
There is a silent war going on. It is not causing a stir, not making headlines or shaking the heads of state. Not even making President Felix Tshisekedi, neither gets actions of Vital Kamerhe or Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba. The FCC-CACH is more involved in eating and looting, than governing apparently. Since, they are not acting upon this nor creating the space to create peace in North Kivu. They are not even trying and there is a lack of will.
This silent war got to stop, but there is no signs of it. Since, it seems like the merchants of deaths continue to roam this region and the allegiance to illegal activity counters the possibility for a peaceful development. Peace.
Well, not that Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States is a stable genius, neither is his administration. That is why things like today happens. Not that its surprising, it is just their twisted imperial minds that shower the world with these gems.
Not that Trump nor his administration cares, they are just moving along and acting like nothing happen. They are just dealing with one scandal to the next. While hiding from the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but that is what the President does. That is why the Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of State can sleep in his office. Because that is must be happening in Washington D.C. like the Starbucks around the corner only have decaf left.
Well, lets be serious, the Democratic Republic of Congo had a fraudulent elections recently, they had the polls in December 2018, Announced in January 2019. later the same month verified by the Constitutional Court. Even if the counting was rigged in favour of someone whose the predecessor made a shady back-room deal with. However, all of that was not a concern for the USA as the transition was happening in the end of January.
However, now that we’re in the end of February 2019. The US Administration is changing their mind. Why do I say this, because they stated this on the 24th January 2019: “The United States welcomes the Congolese Constitutional Court’s certification of Felix Tshisekedi as the next President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We are committed to working with the new DRC government” (…) “The United States salutes the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for their insistence on a peaceful and democratic transfer of power” (U.S. Department of State, 24.01.2019).
This all seems like all fun and games right? That the US is ready to be there and support Felix Tshisekedi and his new administration. That Washington D.C. would give assistance and help the newly minted President in the DRC. Therefore, with the salute and the celebration message of January seems weird today, as the U.S. Department of State stated this:
“The Secretary of State is publicly designating, due to their involvement in significant corruption relating to the electoral process, the following individuals: Mr. Corneille Nangaa, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (D.R.C.) National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI); Mr. Norbert Basengezi Katintima, Vice President of CENI; Mr. Marcellin Mukolo Basengezi, Advisor to the President of CENI; Mr. Aubin Minaku Ndjalandjoko, President of the D.R.C.’s National Assembly; and Mr. Benoit Lwamba Bindu, President of the D.R.C.’s Constitutional Court. This public designation is being made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2019, (Div. F, P.L. 116-6-)” (…) “The Secretary of State is also imposing visa restrictions on election officials as well as military and government officials believed to be responsible for, complicit in, or to have engaged in human rights violations or abuses or undermining of the democratic process in the D.R.C. These individuals enriched themselves through corruption, or directed or oversaw violence against people exercising their rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. They operated with impunity at the expense of the Congolese people and showed a blatant disregard for democratic principles and human rights” (U.S. Department of State, 22.02.2019).
So, between the 24th January and the 22nd February 2019 the U.S. Department of State, went from saluting and welcomed the certification of Tshisekedi, but today they are sanctioning the fellows who made that possible. If that isn’t a double play or even foul. Because the US should either not verify and celebrate something… for later changing their minds. This isn’t a place of pitching stories and seeing, which seems the most feasible that moment.
That is what is really unique and special about this. The short paradigm shift of sanctioning the ones that made it possible for Tshisekedi to become the Head of State. They didn’t expect that the US would change this quickly. Surely, Kinshasa should be shocked, the CACH-FCC coalition must wonder, how do we get out of this?
Maybe, next month the US will send their regard and send their love-letters again to Kinshasa. Right now, they are sanctioned. So, it has to change the next month. That is how the U.S. Department of State works, apparently. Let’s Salute Secretary Mike Pompeo and his staff. They are not looking smart, but dumb. Surely, that is protocol under Trump, so that they are making their President looking smarter. Peace.