Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Like sand through an hour glass, these... are the passing days on the countdown to the DRC referendum. My co-blogger here on the Salon, Ntumba-exiedsoul, seems to have lost all hope, or at least t have gained some level or cynicism after her recent trip back to Congo. I understand her whole-heartedly. I simply choose to maintain some optimism. In French we do say that hope keeps one alive...
And so what is going on with the preparations? Well on Sunday, as reported in french language newspaper Le potentiel, for the first time in a long time, there was a television debate opposing proponents of the "Yes" vote, and proponents of "No" vote.
This debate was also carried over with a debate on the Dialogue show on Radio Okapi (The UN-run nationwide Radio), where a member from the Presidential party (for the "Yes" vote), and a member of the non-parliamentary opposition FONUS party (for the "No" vote). All this was organised by the oh so vocal Media Authority (HAM), and the no less famous Electoral Commission (CEI), which are trying - fairly well, to be fair - to justify the salaries and the SUVs they have gained from the millions of dollars the International Community poored into the whole transition process. (I do realize that I am writing assuming that people know about the current situation; please ask for clarifications in the comments if needed be).
The debates were extraordinarily civil, quite unusualy. The HAM was really trying to enforce the civility rules at the debate, and that was a welcomed surprise. The question remains whether that was the fruit of true will for change and transformation, or whether it was simply pure theatrics. The debaters could use some practice, as they were not very steady on their arguments: 32 years of dictatorship will do that to a political class. Our "honorable" have lost the habit of sincerely debating on behalf of something. Even in the past 15 years of so called democratization, it has always been against Mobutu, against Tshisekedi, against Kabila, for Kabila... purely personality oriented politics. When real debate was needed, it was done behind closed doors, where the people could not always see them using their positions in public institutions, to quite literally bargain in favour of their own selfish little interests. It is to say that even the little bit of technology that has reached Congo has forced these politicians to at least appear like they are doing the job they have been sent there to do. There may be hope still...
In a related matter, there has been a rumor of a growing row between the Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo (of the MLC former rebel group), and the no. 2 of his party, the young and glamorous Speaker of the National Assembly, Olivier Kamitatu. This rumor was confirmed on Tuesday, when the MLC spokesperson Yves Kisombe published a Founding Members decision to expel him from the party. What is interesting, is that under the transition constitution, he does not need to step down as speaker. The MLC, as a party, is a combination of people from the Mobutu regime, and the ambitious offsprings of members of the local gotha at the time of the said regime. Vice-President Bemba is the son of a millionaire whom he made Senator under his party. Olivier Kamitatu is the son of one of the Founding Fathers, Cleophas Kamitatu, who is also a Senator. Yves Kisombe's father was a powerful man during the dictatorship. It is rather interesting to see the rise of the second generation. They are all extremely well spoken, and well versed in World politics; they are Western educated, yet not Western in their actions, by no means. They are willing to play the local game, to maintain their positions... yet they may be the lesser evil we need. Bleak prospects you say? Well, I am still wondering...
(To Be Continued...)
Referendum D-Day - 11
Tags: Congo Africa News Opinion africa democratic-republic-of-the-congo
Posted by TheMalau at 6:42 AM
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