11th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared over (18.11.2020)

The outbreak took place in communities scattered across dense rain forests as well as crowded urban areas, creating logistical challenges.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, November 18, 2020 – Today marks the end of the 11th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), nearly six months after the first cases were reported in Equateur Province. The outbreak took place in communities scattered across dense rain forests as well as crowded urban areas, creating logistical challenges. These were surmounted due to the leadership of the government and local communities, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners.

WHO congratulates responders and all those who tirelessly tracked cases, provided treatment, engaged communities and vaccinated more than 40 000 people at high risk and thanks a wide range of partners for their support. Vaccinators used an innovative cold chain storage to keep the Ebola vaccine at temperatures as low as -80 degrees Celsius. The ARKTEK freezers can keep vaccines at very low temperatures in the field for up to a week and enabled responders to vaccinate people in communities without electricity.

“Overcoming one of the world’s most dangerous pathogens in remote and hard to access communities demonstrates what is possible when science and solidarity come together,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “The technology used to keep the Ebola vaccine at super-cold temperatures will be helpful when bringing a COVID-19 vaccine to Africa. Tackling Ebola in parallel with COVID-19 hasn’t been easy, but much of the expertise we’ve built in one disease is transferrable to another and underlines the importance of investing in emergency preparedness and building local capacity.”

The outbreak in western DRC, announced on 1 June 2020, came as another Ebola outbreak in the eastern part of the country was winding down, and finally declared over on 25 June 2020. The two outbreaks were geographically far apart. Genetic sequencing analysis found that they were unrelated. By the end of the current 11th Ebola outbreak in Equateur Province there were 119 confirmed cases, 11 probable, 55 deaths and 75 people who had recovered.

Equateur Province was also the site of the country’s 9th Ebola outbreak, which was overcome in a little over three months in 2018 and had half as many cases reported. However, the response to the 11th Ebola outbreak had to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, which strained resources and created difficulties around the movement of experts and supplies. There were also challenges around the large number of cases in remote communities which were often only accessible by boat or helicopter and at times community resistance hampered response efforts.

Under the leadership of the DRC government, most responders were mobilized locally, and they moved quickly, despite important logistical and access difficulties. Vaccination efforts began just four days after the outbreak was declared. Around 90% of the vaccinators were from local communities. The response also tapped into the expertise of local health workers trained during the two recent outbreaks in the DRC. Responders worked closely with community members to increase understanding of the virus by visiting more than 574 000 households and providing more than 3 million people with pertinent health and safety information.

At the height of the outbreak there were more than 100 WHO experts on the ground, supporting the government’s response. While the 11th outbreak is over, there is a need for continued vigilance and maintaining strong surveillance as potential flare-ups are possible in the months to come. In this regard, WHO and other partners are currently conducting important actions for improving critical operational capacities in Equateur province, including training frontline workers.

The end of this outbreak serves as a reminder that governments and partners must continue to focus attention on other emergencies, even as the fight against COVID-19 persists. There is a need for greater investment in strengthening the core capacities of countries in the implementation of the International Health Regulations. Enhancing preparedness will lead to improved response to threats arising from epidemic prone diseases and result in less social and economic impact.

RDC: Alliance pour la Reforeme de la Republique “A2R” en sigle – Declaration Constitutive (16.11.2020)

RDC: Le Congo N’Est Pas A Vendre – Passeport Congolais a 99$ : Une Bonne Nouvelle Mais Par Quel Moyen ? (16.11.2020)

RDC: Memorandum des Jeunes de l’UPDS Grand-Kivu et Ituri adresse a son Excellence Monsieur le President de la Republique, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo a Travers la Commission Ad Hoc mise en Place par la Circulaire No. 004 (09.11.2020)

RDC: Memorandum de la Conference Episocopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) a l’Occasion des Consultations Nationales Initiees par le President de la Republque, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi (09.11.2020)

RDC: Memorandum du Dr Denis Mukwege a Monsieur la President de la Republique, Felix Tshisekedi a l’occasion des « consultations nationales » (07.11.2020)

Opinion: Tshisekedi thought he was King, but his only Kabila’s servant…

The consultations are prolonged with President Felix Tshisekedi who are trying to aspire for the top and getting more influence. However, when he went into the agreement or accord with the FCC. The President and leader of UPDS sold his coalition for a title. The CACH, the UPDS-UNC coalition gave way to the FCC  with their majority and in the end, would be the underdog in a agreement with them. He wouldn’t be the sole proprietor, but the ceremonial leader of the Republic. Something that has hit his ego and the ideals of Felix himself.

Now its over a year since they made the accord. The FCC-CACH was the altruistic agreement, which benefits the former President Joseph Kabila. Kabila doesn’t need a title, but his coalition of FCC still controls the Parliament and the Cabinet. The arrangement makes sure that the CACH is following the line of the FCC. That is why the consultations are happening. Still, that is a lost enterprise by Tshisekedi.

Tshisekedi sold his party and his vision for the priced possession of the Presidency. I called him a puppet from the get-go. However, it seems like it took time for him to understand that. With the negotiations and the time consuming appointments of cabinet members. It is like the President didn’t think he had to involve and listen to FCC before moving. This is why Tshisekedi will struggle or face harsh problems if he doesn’t follow the will of FCC. Even if the man isn’t initially part of the FCC, but he traded with them and this is the price.

That his trying to play the “Sacred Union” and save the union gimmick. This doesn’t shadow the accord already made and that he will loose out. If he plays to hard. The punishment will come his way. If the FCC has no tears for the fall of Vital Kamerhe. What can happen to the President himself?

Tshisekedi should be worried, that the FCC comes with such a statement as they did. It sends the signal that his not the big-man, but the one carrying the water for the moment. They have a hired mercenary and soldier on the front-line. UPDS-UNC has very little bargain or little leverage, if any. As that was traded for a title and some seats in the cabinet.

Kabila has outsmarted Tshisekedi and he knows it. No matter what road his taking. It will end in tears. There will be no victory for Tshisekedi. If he pushes to far… the FCC would punish him and make life even harder. The consultations are only showing to the public the weakness of this President.

A President who wants to be grand, be great and respected. However, he is forgetting how he got there. He didn’t win the election, neither did his comrades. No, he didn’t win anything, but he bargained himself to a position.

Tshisekedi cannot think he can play this one out differently. There will be no victory for him. He is a puppet. The President is a servant for the former President, which is an ironic place to be in. Kabila still pulling the strings, while Tshisekedi is the one in the limelight. However, to be someone’s pawn at the top must hurt his pride, but he got no choice. That is the deal he made and he got to live with it. Peace.

Opinion: Tshisekedi has forgotten his place

President Felix Tshisekedi aka Fatshi and Vital Kamerhe went into a coalition with Kabila’s FCC to create the FCC-CACH Coalition. A way to secure the Presidency and also ensure the needed ceremonial power to someone else than Joseph Kabila. That was all in the cards as the agreements was written and accepted. This was all a way of locking out Lamuka and their coalition from ceasing power.

The FCC have gotten most of the representatives, it has the majority in Parliament and in the regional governments across the Republic. The Kabila party and alliance is the strongest partner. The CACH, the UDPS and UNC is weak already. It doesn’t help Tshisekedi that his ally and the one he went into election with Kamerhe is behind bars and lingering in jail. That doesn’t boost the relations with the UNC.

The consultations made now by Tshiskedi is a supposed power move. Also, because the President doesn’t appreciate Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba, an ally of Kabila in the near midsts of the Presidency. However, the President got no choice either, as he is caught in the middle of Kamerhe and Kabila. Kamerhe is lost and his party too in a way. While Kabila holds all the cards to his chest.

That why Kabila has control of his ranks and his coalition, the FCC. They are all in line and working according to him. CACH is failing ahead and on a loosing streak. That is the President own misgivings and lack to detail. He sought so much the Presidency, that he forgot the finer prints and details of it all. Where Kabila have the upper hand and can await the storm.

Tshisekedi doesn’t have much wiggle room. That is why there is a sudden speculations of appointing Lamuka’s Moise Katumbi to the next Prime Minister. To have someone who will be loyal to the President and not Kabila. However, Katumbi is running his G-7/Ensemble and is one of the leaders of Lamuka. That would be betraying that and the Lamuka cause. Which is several of parties. Leaders of the Opposition, who shouldn’t get involved in these sort of government structure.

Neither will Katumbi give any legitimacy to the President. Yes, his beloved and has a standing as a politician. That is why Kabila have sent him into exile and blocked him from entering the Republic. Nevertheless, he does not have the electorate behind him and have the stature that give the ones in reign peace. Therefore, doing this is a gamble for them both and they will both end up loosing.

Kabila might allow it for a little time. But as Kamerhe went down and got court sided. Expect Kabila to have something up his sleeve, if the President dears to challenge him. That will be bloody and there will not be a merciful approach between them. Tshisekedi will regret doing that and Katumbi would be better off without the appointment.

Fatshi will only use Katumbi. There will be no victory or resounding fanfare. Kabila will lurk in the chambers and look out for missteps or find something from the past to haunt him. It will not a positive thing. Katumbi should learn the lesson from Kamerhe and see what happened to him. It will be no different with him.

Kabila is the one running the show from behind the scenes. Fatshi might want it otherwise, but then again. He accepted this arrangement and took the ceremonial piece. Fatshi accepted to be the middle-man and the one cutting ribbons. While Kabila have his fingers all over the place and calling the shots without being elected anywhere. That is what Fatshi accepted and signed over.

Now the pot is calling the kettle back. Fatshi will not win his, but only loose. It is just a matter of how much. Also, how much Kabila wants to humiliate him as well. Peace.

Opinion: Reminiscing about Maj. Gen. Kazini [and will Museveni launch a “new breed” of military entrepreneurialism in North Kivu?]

This isn’t a far fetched, ancient history and such. Many of the men behind the ills of the past is still lingering around. They are in the chambers of powers, having titles and being called “honourable”. These men used their opportunities in the past to earn fortunes on the misery of others. They created massive networks, supported local militias and forged companies to ensure wealth. These was Generals, High Ranking Officials and Associates of the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

This they did across the Democratic Republic of Congo. These men in question was Gen. Salim Selah, Gen. Kahinda Otafiire and Maj. Gen. James Kazini. They we’re all participating in the plundering, the looting and the illicit resource flight from the DRC to Uganda. They ensured the military presence and their allies could extract, steal and operate illegal businesses to profit out of. That was all done with the blessing of the “High Above” in Kampala.

Today, I started to reminiscing about Maj. Gen. James Kazini, the late General who was killed by his girlfriend in 2009. That was year after the war in the DRC ended. The man who had together with various of factions, barriers to market and usage of force made it possible to enrich himself on the conflict. He together with Gen. Salim Selah secured companies like Victoria Group. Victoria Group even had as one of their shareholders being Gen. Muhoozi Kainerubaga. That’s why this enterprise was supported, all from the top!

The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) used the power they had in the region to exploit the mineral resource and re-export it. Like selling diamonds, gold and coffee as Ugandan, but it origins was from the DRC.

Therefore, knowing all this, as the news of the Cabinet Meeting in Entebbe on Monday this week. Which stated building road-network in the North Kivu Province. I cannot help to think, that it’s not only a wet-dream for road-scandal with tenders, lost funds and ghosts. Also with the history of the UPDF. The history of men like Maj. Gen. Kazini. There could be people willing to profit from the sins of the past again. Especially, profitable mineral resources as cobalt and others, which happens to be in North Kivu.

So, if Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is building the roads in North Kivu. Then, the President and his team will come excuses that the UPDF need a battalion to ensure the safety of contractors and engineers. While, the same army will also configure ways to participate in more military entrepreneurialism in the province. That would be a way to kick-back and make it profitable.

That the UPDF and UNRA would do this wouldn’t be shocking. There is to much resources and possible exploits for them to not grab it. Even if it is a illicit business and illegal. Still, to this day the Ugandan government is exploiting Congolese gold as they are minting it at the Gold Refinery in Entebbe. Which is why, I am thinking there is more plans ahead in North Kivu.

They are not just going there to tarmac some roads and build a bridge or two. No, they are not compensation for the past hurt and looting. No, these men are finding a new way to exploit and profit of the situation. This is the same government that has used Kisoro as a base and supported para-military groups in the DRC. The same government that was a safe-haven for M-23 soldiers. Therefore, I have little trust of the goodwill…

Until proven otherwise. Peace.

Uganda: Cabinet Meeting at the State House authorised building roads in the North Kivu Province! [A new saga begins]

Yesterday on the 28th September 2020 at the State House in Entebbe, the Cabinet Meeting have made several of decisions. These are usually rubber-stamped by the Parliament. Therefore, what they decided is decisive. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) and its government are really starting a expansive plan.

The NRM are now going forward with building roads in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

These roads are:

Kasinde – Beni (80 Km)

Beni – Butembo Axis (54 km)

Bunagana – Rutshuru – Goma (89 km)

They are building the roads in the North Kivu in a region, which the Ugandan state have both occupied between August 1998 to June 2003. As well, as the Ugandan involvement in toppling Mobutu and installing Laurent Kabila. Because, of the looting of the years and the loss of the compensation for it.

Is this the way the Ugandan government trying to bait- and switch the government of Kinshasa? Will President Tshisekedi and Kabila accept this?

This is about 223 kilometres of tarmacked roads within the North Kivu province. A place the para-military of the Uganda knows well. A region where the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) are familiar in. Who knows how they are planning to develop this and who will do the bidding?

Is this more Chinese Operators or in connection with the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). One of the most corrupt institutions in Uganda, which is the reason why buildings roads in the Republic is so expensive.

That is why its weird that the Ugandan is doing this and made this decision in a Cabinet Meeting yesterday. Wonder, if the government and authorities within the DRC will accept this? Is this to patch the hurt or is this a gamble of the Presidency?

They are pursuing it for inter-connectivity, mobility and for security. That is what they are stating in the minutes from the Cabinet Meeting. However, in my opinion this isn’t about bilateral cooperation and further the ties of the Republic’s.

The Cabinet Meeting and the State of Uganda is gambling that this will be a sort of pay-off for their plundering. Do some good deeds, but that has to be accepted by Kinshasa. That is something we have to see and this can take forever before it starts. We can wonder who will deal with the tenders, the budgets and who will keep the governments accountable. This sort of building and development project is a corrupt man wet-dream. As there will be no clear oversight and will be raining funds. There will be ghosts, there will be goats and will be unallocated funds.

We can also wonder, if this will be an excuse to have the UPDF returning into the province of North Kivu, as they have to be security for the road-companies and the construction. That wouldn’t shock me at all.

That is all speculation, but this story is only starting. There will be devils in the details. We just have to see, if the states will write Memorandums of Understandings (MOUs) and Agreements to safeguard the deals. Therefore, the Cabinet Meeting yesterday is just a beginning. This is a saga that will continue… Peace.