It is weird and sad, that as the days goes, that President Joseph Kabila is still a thing. Let me clear, he is lingering unconstitutionally at his role as the President and without an official mandate. He is squatting at the highest office in the 3rd Republic and the world, just let him get away with it. It is like it easier that way, there is less accountability, less transparency and less proper guidelines of governance, therefore, let him be. So, the world can get the resources and the minerals from the rich country, while the state is piss-poor. Because who needs this stuff through proper procedure, tariffs and through fair trading. No, that is only for theories and not for the reality.
Kabila is still in power and its 19th May 2018. When his final term ended was on the 19th December 2016, which means that there has been 517 days since his term ended. What is more insulting is that he had long grace period before his first election in 2006 and the second in 2011, therefore needed to prepare to leave before the end of his second 5 year term in 2016. However, as we know, that didn’t happen. Therefore, he has been the de facto leader now since 26th January 2001. With two elected terms, but the rest of the time, been ruling with grace. That grace continues, without any hesitation or any significant change.
We have now let a man without any mandate rule for one year, five months and one day. That should be insulting to anyone, to let that happen and get away with it. It is just selfish to think otherwise. Yes, there are other self-serving, self-interested leaders who impose themselves on the their republic. They rig their constitutions, they make the laws of association and electoral malpractice into a profession. While the public await the army and the rigged tallies of their victorious achievement of another term, after paying off cronies and the making the institutions praise the almighty leader. That is happening all around the world, like we are still living in a feudal time and the peasants, just have to follow the anointed kings.
It is not like the two elections for Kabila was marred with issues, but the people and stakeholders had hope, as it was a significant change from the two brutal wars that had been. The government of the 3rd Republic would be different, as there haven’t been any peaceful transition of power. The last time that happen was with Patrice Lumumba and he got assassinated by a foreign force under code-name “Swamp Monster”. So who knows it was the Belgians or the CIA, as they both wanted a puppet to the Republic.
However, lets get back to Kabila, who is not leaving in peace, he isn’t leaving at all. He on his third illegal term, without any elections. Using all tools to stay in power, all insurgency, all massacres in Kasai-Oriental, Kivu’s and all the problems in the Republic. Establishing a hard-line against the real opposition in UNDP, Ensamble and everyone else questioning his powers. Stopping protests and activists from Lucha. Nothing is not touched, even bishops, priests and church protests is shut down with vile force. Nothing is to spare the people, only man who reign in mercy is Kabila. The rest has to bow their knees and hope they are not his prey. Therefore, we all need to pray.
Kabila continues to linger in power, 517 days over his mandate, the MONUSCO, the International Community, still letting him linger, nothing is imposed or taken away. A few sanctions on companies and few of the elites, even the vital minerals are still exported either through the ports or through Rwanda. Just like it has done for years. No-one questioning it, no one wonders where the militias are getting resources to buy arms, but who cares as long as the world can have a fancy smart-phone right?
Kabila just got it made. No one doubt it and steps on his throne. They just let him. The ones that does oppose. Will get the taste of pain, the agony and even stop breathing. That is known, but no one says much or cries havoc. It is just the Democratic Republic of Congo, a place where that is normal. They are our brothers and sisters, but we cannot shield them. We cannot make sure their future is sealed. No, as long as we get the minerals, we don’t mind war-lords, militias and scrupulous killings of civilians. We don’t mind, we get a bargain and the elites of Kinshasa get massive wealth. We are letting the masses starving, and letting the elite “Kabiliaist” eat of everyone’s plate. That is the order of our time.
Even with knowing that, we let it go and let it be. Because that pain and agony isn’t ours. But we let him stay and use his force, to generate wealth for our tech-companies, but he get to decide the fate of his civilians. However, he does that without a mandate, without a transparent leadership and without the needed accountability, that would lead into a better future. Because it is all in his decrees and his allies that matters. Not what is for the better future, but enrich his pockets. That narrative in our world, never gets old.
What is insulting is that he thinks he can get away with it. That he don’t think he got to pay for being in-charge over it and not trying make a difference.
Kabila is lingering and no-one is batting an eye. He is far from the only one. I know that, but still, that should not be forgotten. That he is now 517 days on overtime, that isn’t just awaiting CENI to push an election. That is postponing so he can loot a bit more and hope people forget about this. Peace.
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has been a strongman whose fought the good fight for the people against government corruption, also used martial law to beat Islamist’s in Marawi on the island of Mindanao. Now, he has also broken the dialogue with the communists rebels, of the militia of the New People’s Army. Therefore, as he has used the army and police to battle drug-cartels and militias. You would expect a fellow President to manage a few journalists.
President Duterte has now started a spat and unnecessary, as the Christopher Lawrence “Bong” has stated today to the media after 48 hours of foolishness from themselves. This is crisis made out of stupidity made by the Malacañang. Duterte and Bong just acting dumb by kicking out a reporter from Rappler. Pia Randa yesterday on the 20th February and then barring her from entering today.
They have stated this to the media:
“Let us be clear: The case of Rappler is not an attack on press freedom. Members of the media, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer, continue to be hard-hitting yet they can cover the activities of the President. Ms. Ranada’s accreditation, which would give her access to Palace activities, lies on Rappler’s accreditation. If Rappler wants to have direct coverage of certain events inside and outside Malacañang, it may apply for Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) accreditation. Two things could have avoided Rappler’s present predicament: One, get a temporary restraining order. Two, be a Filipino corporation. Unfortunately, Rappler failed to obtain a TRO and failed to show that it is a Filipino entity” (Presidential Communications Operations Office – ‘From the Presidential Spokesperson – On Rappler’ 21.02.2018).
By the standard of the ownership of Rappler, it is owned by Dolphin Fire Group (31%), Maria Resa (23%), Hatchd Group (17% ), Benjamin So (17%), Public Trust and Media Group (5%) and 4 minority owners with about 5%. So the ownership of Rappler and Rappler Holding Company is based in the Philippines, even if they have gotten funding from abroad Omidyar Network and North Base Media. Both foreign, but the ownership is still Philippines based. Therefore, the attacks on this is a bit strange.
That is just the quick defense of Rappler and their ownership, which should be easily accessed to the President and his associates. Since they can get all registers and all files on the company. Since the Rappler Holding Corporation has to pay taxes and levies like any other. I would expect the Spokesperson to the President knowing this. Even I could find this information without very little research, since this is public, as a public company and with open access to the domain.
However, this isn’t just about press freedom, this is about the open scar of weakness. That the President doesn’t like one story about Navy Frigate Deal. Maybe, the President should be transparent about the trade and deal, also show the process of the agreement with set supplier of the boat. Not just spray venom and show fury over Rappler writing a story. Show the truth, drop the arrangement, mark the classified details, which only the military can know and show the paper-trail if the story is false. That would be mature and prove transparency in his actions. However, he takes away press credentials and beats the messenger, instead of showing the true face of Navy Frigate deal.
I hate to say it, but Duterte looks weak and foolish with this. He could have shown his true character and riding the storm. Instead he seems hot-headed and unwise. Duterte been swift and wise in cracking down on terrorists and communist rebels. But doing this to a report from Rappler is childish and petty. He is supposed to be better and have better reasoning behind it. Clearly, he lost it a bit and need guidance.
Sometimes the ego of a person goes to far, in this instance it has. Duterte forgotten, that he represent all parts of the people, even the critical ones. They are labeling Rappler foreign when its not, and trying to muffle their reports. However, instead of debunking and showing the legitimate agreement, which is the main reason for this attack on the media company.
The reporter in question is known for being critical of Duterte, that is fact, still Duterte and Malacañang press corps could need that. But the administration and the president seems misguided. Duterte should show strength, not weakness. This is weak, really weak, petty even.
President Duterte, you have been able to beat the hell out of terrorists and are doing what you can beat communist rebels. Two noble fights, also the third to get rid of the drug-cartels. All of that has been for the betterment of the republic. However, this attack on Rappler, as it has been now from the administration since January 2018. This is just the latest after the state revoked it license. Seemingly, you have the courage and boldness to beat the ones with guns, ammunition and drugs.
But, you cannot manage a report from Rappler? Is that your Achilles heel? That is weak tea. Really weak tea. Steaming hot water, but with no flavor. Peace.