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.
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