A planned shutdown of social media in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from Sunday evening ahead of the end of President Joseph Kabila’s mandate, coupled with a continuing ban on demonstrations by civil society and the opposition, is deeply alarming.
GENEVA, Switzerland, December 19, 2016 – A planned shutdown of social media in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from Sunday evening ahead of the end of President Joseph Kabila’s mandate, coupled with a continuing ban on demonstrations by civil society and the opposition, is deeply alarming, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said Saturday.
“We are especially concerned as Monday also marks three months since 54 people died in Kinshasa, when defence and security forces used excessive force against people calling for constitutional deadlines to be respected and for President Kabila to step down at the end of his second and final mandate. No one has to date been held accountable for this violent repression of demonstrations,” Zeid said.
Since the beginning of December, the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC has documented at least 45 arrests of people trying to exercise their right to peaceful assembly. Of these, at least 16 people were detained in Bunia, Kinshasa and Goma in the context of the “Bye Bye Kabila” campaign organized by the Filimbi and Lucha youth movements. A further 26 people were reportedly arrested for their political links or because they belong to citizen movements.
“Intimidating and targeting opponents and civil society is not the answer. Silencing their views and stopping them from protesting is not the solution, and in fact is more likely to push them to resort to violence,” said Zeid.
“We call on the Government, and especially its security forces, to take all necessary measures to guarantee the rights to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly. We call on them to exercise restraint in line with their obligations under international human rights law related to the use of force during demonstrations. All responsible, at any level, for human rights violations must also be held accountable,” Zeid stressed.
“I am also concerned that DRC Government has asked internet providers and phone operators to block social media networks from Sunday evening. Such disruption is generally disproportionate and risks heightening tensions and fears, as it follows recent increased restrictions on independent media and on political debate,” he added. “I urge the authorities to reverse this order and to guarantee the right to freedom of expression and to access information, in line with the Congolese constitution.”
Under an agreement reached with some members of the opposition, elections are not expected before April 2018, with Mr. Kabila planning to stay on in office beyond 19 December.
Talks mediated by the Catholic Church have been taking place in Kinshasa to try to find a negotiated way forward beyond this date and to avoid violence. Respect for the Constitution and human rights principles and standards must be a cornerstone of any agreement achieved at these talks, the High Commissioner said.
“Let me stress how important the implementation of confidence-building measures is to reassure the Congolese population. I call on the Government to release all political prisoners, guarantee the independence of state institutions, including the judiciary, and open up the political space. At the same time, the opposition and civil society must strictly adhere to the peaceful exercise of their rights and freedoms,” the High Commissioner said.
“I urge all the Congolese to continue their efforts to achieve an agreement on the upcoming transitional period that respects the constitution and the human rights of all,” Zeid added.
President Patrice Lumumba addressed the Congolese Youth in August 1960:
“Today I am addressing the youth, the young men and women of the Republic of the Congo. In speaking to them, I am addressing these words to future generations because the future of our beloved country belongs to them. We are fighting our enemies in order to prepare a better and happier life for our youth. If we had been egoists, if we had thought only about ourselves we would not have made the innumerable sacrifices we are making. I am aware that our country can completely liberate herself from the chains of colonialism politically, economically and spiritually only at the price of a relentless and sometimes dangerous struggle. Together with the youth of the country, we have waged this struggle against foreign rule, against mercantile exploitation, against injustice and pressure” (Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, pp 33-36).
Joseph Kabila, the president since 2001 after his father was assassinated will not leave silently from the Executive, from the commander-in-chief of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He will go into a fourth term without any direct amendments of the constitution of the Third Republic. He has been now in powers for over 15 years!
“Although Mr Kabila almost certainly died within minutes or hours of his shooting, his body was flown to Harare, ostensibly for treatment but probably merely to give the government time to reorganise and agree on a successor. Orders were issued in his name and the death was kept secret for 50 hours. As a result, Kinshasa remained calm and factions in the army that might have risen up were disarmed. But if Mr Kabila’s killing was planned—and it may well have arisen just from discontent among the palace guard—it is still not clear what it was meant to achieve” (The Economist, 2001).
Kabila has worked in the FARDC and even we’re in command of the army when the Ugandan and Rwandan armies we’re taking Kisangani in the past. He we’re in command of the Northern Contingent as the Operational Commander. So he has army experience and knows military tactics.
Kabila have worked with allies in United States and in Belgium, as they both have served each other well, even as the mandate of MONUSCO has been strengthen as the FARDC haven’t had the will to get rid of all the different guerrillas that are in the nation. The Republic has over a dozens of guerrillas and militias controlling mines and natural resources as the illegal mining, illegal exports through Uganda and Rwanda is happening in broad daylight. That has happen for two decades and not that Kabila government has tried to stop it. Neither has the industries that need these minerals that sheds the blood and uses the children to create future soldiers.
Just as Kabila continued the line of his father, he still cleared the shop and made sure he got loyal people to him and not to the deceased father, like a year after he was sworn-in the first time as President in the transition government, he changed the ministers and put in Evariste Boshe, Samba Kaputo, Mulegwa Zihidula and Pierre Lumbi became close allies in personal cabinet in 2002. Some of them are still key figures in the regime to this day.
As of today the pictures surfacing online before the VPN and shutdown that the regime has promised where all of social media like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook so on. Because Kabila doesn’t want the world to know about the oppressive behaviour of the FARDC and authorities; we know about some because of LUCHA and other political organizations has already in total behind bars over 130 known activists. So the Kabila government doesn’t really want change or political freedoms for their citizens.
“Gloria Sengha, youth activist in Kinshasa and member of Lucha was kidnapped yesterday by Congolese security forces in Kinshasa. She is among the latest Congolese youth who have been kidnapped this past week. We still do not have the details of where Congolese lawyer and member of Compte a Rebours, Chris Shematsi is as well since his kidnapping earlier this week” (Kambale Musavuli, 18.12.2016).
Kabila a military man who became second generation president, doesn’t have not had the will to generate freedom, his armies haven’t even made peace in regions like South Kivu or North Kivu, as the militias and own army has created massacres in the villages around mines and valuable resources to export. There been incidents in Beni, Bukavu and Goma where the violence has happen and people have fled the area.
Kabila took power in 2001 after his father, got elected in a positive election in 2006, more contested and more questionable 2011. When Kabila we’re supposed to step-down now it would be miracle for a man who has ruled for 15 years. Since he has power since his father died, though he could have learned from the past, which the innocent dies when power corrupts the President.
We can expect that the army is stationed in the major towns and cities over the next few days to quell the displeased crowds who feels that there is coup d’état silently going-on. Kabila plans to silently take control over the nation again, as he did in 2001, as he needed to postpone elections and stay as commander-in-chief as long as he can. Kabila owns businesses, businesses that have contracts with the state and others that are licensed by government authority.
So the son of former president Kabila knows the problem of leaving and knows that certainly leaving in peace would be something new, a succession that hasn’t occurred in the giant central African nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Patrice Lumumba we’re assassinated by the Belgium post-colonial forces, Mobutu Sese Seko died in exile in Rabat Morocco, Laurent-Desire Kabila killed by assassination by alleged royal guards. Now Joseph Kabila can decide his fate.
President Kabila from 2001-2016 can make a decision, if he haven’t already; he has been eating of the government plate and also with the surrounding mineral exports and trading agreement as the Third Republic Executive. The family is tangled and involved in all sectors of the economy and if he unleash himself from the throne. If he releases himself he fears and his family fears for the business and their future. This is something they have taken over from the previous ones in power, which are Mobutu and Laurent Kabila. The connected businesses are all there because of the connection with the state.
The State isn’t a big-government, it’s a militarized single-person based government that are only what it is, depending on the one that is the President, the executive at the time, because the government isn’t full with procedure or with institutions, it’s based on the appointments from the President and with the state corporations that can be partly owned by the family of Kabila.
Kabila has been and still is the President, even as hasn’t been any election, as the fourth term is coming to him. Like so many other Presidents coming before him, they haven’t counted the transition period, even as he wasn’t elected; he was handpicked and selected by the kingmakers in 2001. To make sure the army and population got a popular figure. Certainly Kabila got the two terms after the transition. Now he is in the wind and keeping the people in shackles, because he is not caring about legal proposition of his affairs.
The problem now, the dialogue with the opposition has been dragged out and even the CENCO, the religious forum hasn’t created a space where the general election has taken place, even as the United Kingdom doling out fortunes for the election, but nothing happens. We could all wonder if Edem Kodjo really wanted the regime under Kabila to change or if the whole thing was fraud?
The silence, the little sanctions from the European Union and United States happen in December, as the republic couldn’t feel a fret from the mediocre actions of the international community, as the Rwandan and Ugandan guerrillas are still inside the republic, together with the soft borders that has even had MONUSCO helped the SLPM-IO to Khartoum in Sudan after the rebellion in July 2016. The South Sudanese rebels fled after skirmishes in the Juba. After that the UN peacekeepers helped the rebels as they fled again to safety in Sudan.
So when Kabila now is still in power, will continue to stay in power and hold on to power without any consideration of the Congolese people and their justice. The Kabila clan doesn’t own the country, they we’re supposed to run it on their behalf. Now Joseph Kabila acts like he owns them and they owns him a favour, which isn’t true.
#Telema or #Yelema have been youth and civil activists who work for development and change as of getting a new president in the Republic. They have been stopped by tear-gas, violence and being detained. The reason is that Kabila wants to safe on the throne.
“As announced, the discussions have failed. Now, Congolese people, the ball is in your camp! Now arrived at the end of our efforts” – Felix Tshisekendi.
As Tshisekendi announce this today on Twitter shows the world how Kabila has silenced the opposition, as Moise Katumbi has been under monitoring by the authorities, even detained in Lubumbashi and had to flee for South Africa for health check after Kabila’s security organization throws tear-gas and brutalized supporters as well as Katumbi himself.
It hasn’t been the will of the Kabila to leave power or even try to fix the dialogue between the parties; he has the army and the businesses in his pocket. Kabila are now taking the Congolese citizens as hostage as he doesn’t deliver an election or a succession to himself as he stays in power. The Congolese authorities are now and have been in the hands of Kabila. Certainly Kabila proves that he never wanted to deliver democratic change.
The militarized leadership of the past are still in the midst of the leadership of Kabila, nothing different to ones of the Mobutu dictatorship or of the puppet-regime of Laurent Kabila. The Military, the Police and Special Forces as much as the Royal Guards are still following orders from above high. They are doing it now as they are guarding the cities like Goma, Kinshasa and others.
Kabila even warned of major violence if he had to stepdown, because he will use the military to silence the opposition and the citizens. Therefore the violence will come as a result of Kabila using force to quell the people into his will. The non-acts of the President are elementary of the will of keeping power.
President Kabila will not let go, not letting go silent and seemingly have had no plan of leaving office, as the keys, the guns and ammunition is in his hands. The army and police together with the banning of social media are elements of taking total control and not letting go. Just like President Museveni, President Nkurunziza and President Kagame. Kabila wants to copy them, but without the legal fuzz of Burundi and without Museveni’s bickering and changes of laws over 3 decades. As Kabila doesn’t have a totalitarian control like Kagame in Rwanda.
Kabila now shows his cards without playing, that is way of playing, though the silence, the non-existing plans and the dodging the ordinary parts of the Parliament and amending laws or even the constitution to secure legality of the third official term. But also the non-existing election and campaigning, as the Kabila regime is holding on without taking in consideration of the citizens of the Congolese state.
We should hope he would step down to respect his own people, but the Congolese people aren’t respected, as they haven’t been by the authorities for so long time. Kabila follows the tradition of Mobutu who used the military and the support of United States to control the Republic.
We know that the Third Republic is in the image of the Kabila and total control is because of him and the appointed men who he trusts. Kabila are now seeking to overstay and to make the citizens hostage. #Telema can address the deficiency and show the truth, but the citizens have to demonstrate and besiege the Parliament, make noise on the radio and also protect the constitution.
Third Republic cannot be at the current, the Democratic Republic of Congo doesn’t owe anything to Kabila and his clan. They have eaten for a long while and let many people starve, therefore the clan fears that the citizens will take that away. The Congolese people deserve a democratic, transparent and fiscal responsible government who cares for the citizens and not only the riches of Kabila and his elite.
Kabila are now 15 years in and not leaving, we can hope civil disobedience and #Telema has power to make a difference, which the civil activists in LUCHA can change, the powers. What is more important is that citizen’s act against Kabila and the Congolese authorities, because the citizen deserves a government who represent them.
Now the Kabila government have shackled the society and taken the people for granted. Prepare that the Rassamblement, the Telema and all the other efforts will end up with more people in prison, more death as the soldiers will kill demonstrators and the army will besiege the cities. Peace.
The Economist – ‘Kabila is dead, long live Kabila’ (25.01.2001) link: http://www.economist.com/node/486713