Monday, November 27, 2006

DRC: L'heure de verite... (The moment of truth)

(UPDATE: The Supreme Court of the DRC has officially declared Joseph Kabila, the winner of the elections, and the newly elected President of the Democratic republic of the Congo.)

So apparently today is the day the Supreme Court its verdict on the electoral result, and we can finally know who won, really... the fact of the matter is, especially reading reports from the court proceedings, the cances that Jean Pierre Bemba could somehow see the results overturned are extremely slim. Especially considering that the partisans of apparently (and I insist on the APPARENTLY) orchestrated the attack on the Supreme Court building last week, thus not endearing their leader to the venerable judges: they now have to hold their hearings in the Red Lounge (Salon Rouge) of the Foreign Affairs Dept., and their deliberations in a top-secret location.

On the Eastern front, the serial "party-pooper", dissident Gen. Laurent Nkundabatware (aka Laurent Nkunda) decided the time has cme to launch his own offensive against the regular Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) forces, in North Kivu province, after a Tutsi-Congolese (like Nkunda himself) was killed by a police officer, apparently during a routine control. At the time I am writing this, Nkunda ad the FARDC are said by Radio Okapi to be wrestling for the control of The town of Sake, that Nkunda took over in Sunday's battle. The UN forces, wich operate under Chapter VII of the UN Charter in the East of Congo, are backing governmental forces, since Gen. Nkunda is effectlively a deserter, and therefore in an illegal, insurectional movement against the legitimate institutions of the country.

All in all a rather ominous situation in the "Congo of wonders"... it makes me wonder, as always, if there isn't a secondary military-political game at play here, that we are missing, for lack of information. In the mean time, among Kinshasa people, and people in the diaspora, on all the Congolese mailing lists, looms an extremely nasty climate of insults, mistrust, despair, resignation and/or determination which is not really how I envisioned entering the "democratic" era of my country. The political game in Congo seems to once again make the Congolese people feel helpless, nearly hopeless, and certainly disenfranchised. It's a shame that our ruling class has not been able (and/or willing) either to appropriate, or to internalize the full potential of the electoral process for this country.

The Belgian Captain-general of the Congolese military at independence (the "Force Publique") in 1960, famously stated "before independece = after independence", refering to the fact that not much was going to change in Congo, with Belgium still keeping a strong hand on Congolese affairs. This statement sparked the revolt of the Force Publique, who were asking for Congolese officers - thus leading to the beginning of the rise of a certain young former Sergeant (Mobutu, boosted Colonel) in the ranks of the military... but that statement was also proven right, 2 weeks after independence, with the secession of the mineral rich Katanga province (with Belgian support), one of the economic lungs of the Congo... I am seriously hoping that we are not heading towards a situation of mayhem, chaos, recriminations and civil war that will make me say that "Before the transition process = After the transition process".
We'll remain positive on this one.

In the mean time, here is a video-clip from the talented youth of the Congo. The lyrics are in Lingala (find a translator), but ultimately they are asking the Congolese to rise up for the Congo. It's about darned time! In the clip you will recognize pieces from several recent documentarie on the Congo. Congo kino liwa!


Anonymous said...

the supreme court has made their decision in favor of the election results to stand as is. what is the next step? will bemba's camp ,and other invested parties for that matter, respect the supreme court verdict?
looking forward to your continued insightful anaylsis....


Jonathan Edelstein said...

I'm sure you're aware of this by now, but Bemba has conceded. I suspect he'll name his price later, but hopefully this will end the civil unrest.

Lorraine said...

And for those who can't find a translator listen to Omékongo at

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