US News DRC: President Tshisekedi launches consultations to consolidate his power against the Kabila camp

22:55  02 november  2020
22:55  02 november  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

DRC: what is Félix Tshisekedi's room for maneuver to form his “sacred union”?

 DRC: what is Félix Tshisekedi's room for maneuver to form his “sacred union”? © REUTERS / Olivia Acland Joseph Kabila and Félix Tshisekedi side by side during the inauguration ceremony of the new Congolese president, in Kinshasa on January 24, 2019. Friday, October 23 in the evening, the Congolese head of state has denounced the blocking of institutions and of the ruling coalition formed with his predecessor Joseph Kabila. To remedy this, he pledged to hold consultations within the week to create a national union.

Le président de la République démocratique du Congo Félix Tshisekedi s'esprime à Paris, le 12 novembre 2019. © LUDOVIC MARIN The president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Félix Tshisekedi is faint in Paris, November 12, 2019.

In the midst of a crisis within from the coalition to business in the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Félix Tshisekedi on Monday began "national consultations" in an attempt to assert his power against the camp of his ally and predecessor Joseph Kabila.

In a solemn address on October 23, President Tshisekedi created a surprise by announcing the organization of national consultations in order to create a "sacred union" in this gigantic country in the heart of Central Africa, whose immense resources do not benefit hardly to a population overwhelmingly poor, but have excited the appetites of armed groups in the East for nearly 30 years.

DRC: power cuts make life for small businesses difficult in Kinshasa

 DRC: power cuts make life for small businesses difficult in Kinshasa © Sonia Rolley / RFI In Kinshasa, power cuts are on the increase and penalize small businesses. The National Electricity Company justified the prolonged power cuts by blackouts at Inga's hydroelectric dams in recent months. Repairs are underway but while waiting in the neighborhoods, spirits are heating up. The impact on small businesses is enormous. With our correspondent in Kinshasa, Sonia Rolley "It is dark here, there is no electricity".

These consultations are to last until November 8.

Invested on January 24, 2019, the former opponent Tshisekedi governs in coalition with the Common Front for Congo (FCC) of his predecessor Kabila with whom he signed a political coalition agreement. But the recurring tensions between the two camps for almost two years have continued to worsen in recent months.

The game is all the more difficult for the Head of State and the alliance that supports him, Cap pour le changer (CACH), as the Kabila camp has a majority in the government (43 ministers against 23) but also in Parliament. and in the Provincial Assemblies.

"These consultations are aimed at the overhaul of government action around the principles of participation in the management of the country", explained Mr. Tshisekedi on October 23, promising at the end of these exchanges to announce "decisions which would exclude any case ".

DRC: in Kivu, an alarming human toll for the first twenty months of Tshisekedi

 DRC: in Kivu, an alarming human toll for the first twenty months of Tshisekedi © RFI / Sonia Rolley FARDC military on patrol in the highlands of South Kivu, in October 2020 (illustrative image). In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Kivu security barometer (KST) published Monday October 26 a human toll of the first twenty months of the presidency of Felix Tshisekedi. And the numbers are alarming: 2,127 civilians have been killed, 1,450 kidnapped and 938 kidnapped.

A number of actors in the political scene speculate on a dissolution of the National Assembly which, hopes the Tshisekedi camp, would allow it to reverse the balance of power with its allies or rivals.

The UDPS, the president's party, does not exclude a "dissolution of the National Assembly, if that turns out to be the last solution", confirms its secretary general Augustin Kabuya, interviewed by AFP.

"The president must succeed in shifting the majority" in his favor, believes Jean-Claude Katende of the African Association for Human Rights (Asadho).

At the end of these consultations, "President Tshisekedi must requalify the parliamentary majority in order to acquire the political means enabling it to work with ministers who are at the service of the people and not of a moral authority", according to Georges Kapiamba of the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ), "moral authority" referring to the nickname worn by former President Kabila.

Consultations in the DRC: Tshisekedi receives the Céni, the CNSA and religious representatives

 Consultations in the DRC: Tshisekedi receives the Céni, the CNSA and religious representatives © Tchandrou Nitanga / AFP Congolese President Félix Tshisékédi received on Monday the members of the outgoing Céni, the CNSA and several religious figures. First day of national consultations promised by President Felix Tshisekedi. The Head of State of the Democratic Republic of the Congo received on Monday, November 2, personalities involved in the electoral process. Institutions supporting democracy, civil society, religious denominations ...

- 2023 in sight -

Faced with the major maneuvers that are underway, Néhémie Mwilanya, coordinator of Joseph Kabila's FCC, observes, with a hint of annoyance: "The parliamentary majority is now coveted, it is courted , we want it at any cost ". "Fortunately, it is not for sale," he says, however.

For the first day of the consultations, it was not the representatives of political parties who started the ball rolling, but the office of the electoral commission (Céni).

Discussions with Mr. Tshisekedi focused on "the need for the stabilization of the country and for peace", declared its president Corneille Nangaa at the exit.

"Like Céni, we presented to the authority of Félix Tshisekedi the need for the next general elections to be held in 2023", he added.

He also warned that his structure no longer has the legitimacy to organize elections, in the event of the dissolution of the National Assembly: he argues that their mandate has expired since June 2019 and that they only remain in place pending the designation of their successor.

Civil society actors were then received in turn by President Tshisekedi: human rights defenders, press representatives, religious leaders, including the very influential Archbishop Emeritus of Kinshasa, Laurent Monsengwo.

The crisis within the ruling coalition escalated on October 21, when the Head of State presided over the swearing-in ceremony of the three new members of the Constitutional Court he appointed in July , despite opposition from its FCC partners.

The Kabila camp then accused the Head of State of having made "the deliberate choice to violate the Constitution" and qualified the ceremony as "irregular" for "persons appointed illegally".

A battle around a strategic issue almost three years from the next presidential election: the Constitutional Court has the power to validate or invalidate the candidatures but also the results of the ballot.

mbb-bmb / thm

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