Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Questions and... Answers?

In response to the previous post, one of our faithful opinion leaders here at The Salon, Lorraine, ask a series of questions, that may be crucial - in their own way - to the near future of the DRC. I will put the questions down here, and answer those that I believe I can give a (partial) answer to. For the rest, well... I invite you to take a stab at them in the comments section.

1. Does President Kabila have to submit a detailled financial accounting of his wealth once he has been sworn into office? I could have sworn that I read this somewhere but can no longer find the reference.According to the Constitution (Title III, Section 1, Article 99), yes, he does. In fact the Constitution says that this should happen before his inauguration, or at the most 30 days after his inauguration. If he does not, within 30 days, it is equivalent to resigning from his position. And in fact, if it was ever found that he lied on his declaration of wealth, he would be automatically brought to justice. At least that is what the constitution says.

2. What do you think about Bemba's lawyer Maitre Nlandu's arrest?I am not sure that she was Bemba's lawyer - although she is a lawyer. She was more of a political ally. Unless the government can produce irrefutable proof that she was involved in whatever coup attempt, or insurrection plan that she is suspected of having participated in, she should be presumed innocent. Therefore any form of arbitrary detention is simply unacceptable. Not that these things will ever disappear overnight - they won't. But we should definitely put an end to these barbaric practices, and put pressure on the government for her release.

3. What happened to the 300+ kinois who were shipped off to Katanga for "re-education" and without due process?It was done without due process, proof that we still have a long way before we can claim that we have overcome our long-established police-state practices. And Kabila should not be given carte blanche either. Pressure should be put on him for the promotion of the rule of law. That said, Radio Okapi did say recently that the said 300+ Kinois did get to Kaniama Kasese, Katanga (against the will of the locals, btw). It is a center of the Service National. My father, Colonel Mamina, established that center, in the time of Mzee Kabila, when he was one of the commanders of the Service National. At the time, it was actually a fairly well-run place, but it is definitely a paramilitary training, that is intended to be a voluntary one. No one should be forced to do anything, except that which is required by law, or that mandated by a judge, after the due process of the law. It was an ill-advised measure, and an example of the practices to ban in the new Congo.

4. What happened to the "escaped" prisoners accused of having been involved in the assasination of Mzee Kabila?I have absolutely no idea. anyone?

5. Are two of the Supreme Court Judges members of President Kabila's family?From what I read of the Court proceedings, and heard on the Radio, there is a possibility that these judges be relatives of Kabila, but not close. Now I cannot say this for fact however, since this is information from 3rd parties.

6. Have the Angolans and Zimbabwean military people slipped as quietly out of Kinshasa and elsewhere as they slipped in?The only places I read of these Angolan soldiers have been on anti-Kabila Congolese mailing lists, and those have been notoriously unreliable for factual information. That said, if indeed they were there, then they have really excelled in their stealth.

7. When will the GSSP be actually integrated into the FARDC?That is an excellent question, that only President Kabila's team can answer. They do need to be integrated to a larger degree though, and soon. They are called the Republican guard now, and their mission is protecting the president everywhere in the country and abroad. So loyalty to the President is not really a minus... That said, they need to be retrained and reeducated VERY SOON! Yet another thing we need to keep pressuring President Kabila on.

8. Will the Presidential Inauguration take place on December 10th?It is my understanding that the inauguration will take place on December 6th, to respect the 10 days deadline imposed by the constitution (Title III, Section 1, Article 74), between the official announcement of the results, and the inauguration. So he will be inaugurated on the 6th so he can "start" work on the 7th.

9. Will the ICC pursue the case against Bemba now that he has conceded?I would very much like to see what happens with that. If Bemba is indeed given the title of "Leader of the Opposition", he will surely have immunities that prohibit that. If not, all bets are off, I think.

10. Does this mean that Modeste Mutinga and Apollinaire Malu Malu no longer have jobs?From what I understand from the interview that Appolinaire Malu Malu (head of the Electoral Commission) gave to La Libre Belgique[Fr] today, as well as the press conference his deputy Dieudonne Mirimo gave yesterday, the idea is to:
-finish the elections of Senators and Governors
-get the National Assembly to pass the law organising the new electoral commission (by January 2007), as required by the constitution, and the law on municipal elections
-install the new electoral commission team, and pass down the organization of the municipal elections to that new team.
In that same interview, Malu Malu seems to imply that after that he will go back to his religious, charitable and Academic duties in Butembo. I may assume that the same may happen to Mutinga, at the Media Authority. That said, the constitution does establish a mirror institution to the Media Authority. So Mutinga may be called upon to lead that one too (which would be a mistake in my point of view).

That is all I can say for now, with the information I have. As for other Congo news, here is a disturbing article about our Nuclear plant in Kinshasa.


Fred said...

Excellent - you should do this more often.

3. The 300 detained are now up to 700. I don't know how many of these were sent to Katanga. I am surprised Human Rights Watch have been slow to react to this move, given their established interest in the situation of street children in DRC.

5. I don't know the answer, but would point out that Bemba's lawyers made this allegation without providing any details, without even naming the judges concerned.

Two more absolutely key questions: What will the composition of the new government look like? And, as asked by Reuters, how effectively will the Assembly be allowed to function?

Jonathan Edelstein said...

2. This is terrible news. I hadn't realized that Nlandu was arrested, let alone on such a flimsy pretext. She was one of the most attractive candidates in the first round - feminist, professional, civil-society credentials, committed to the law rather than the gun as a method of resolving disputes. Her party platform also had some good ideas.

Hopefully Amnesty will stay on the case and she'll be freed. It won't be good if the country reverts to soft dictatorship once the UN's eyes are elsewhere.

3. Does Congolese law have any kind of habeas corpus procedure or method of challenging unlawful detention, even if such procedure is rarely used? Is there any civil society group that will take the detainees' case?

9. I'm not sure that Bemba would be immune from ICC process even if he becomes leader of the opposition - official immunity will protect him from prosecution in a national court, but not an international court. His travel plans may be very limited if the case goes ahead - and, as Museveni is finding out, the ICC prosecutor's office has proven unwilling to dismiss cases for the convenience of domestic peacemaking efforts.

BTW, have you noticed that the provincial election results are coming in? Not too many surprises thus far, but the interesting thing is that the results might enable Bemba to secure a majority in the senate. The western provinces have fewer people than the east but more senators (Kin has 8 to everyone else's 4), and if Bemba can get control of the provincial assembly in Bas-Congo and split Bandundu, then he would be in a position to elect more senators than the AMP. Maybe he'll actually be able to act as a "republican opposition" after all...

TheMalau said...

This is great!!!! Thank you Lorraine for initiating these questions, and effectively starting this discussion.

The National Assembly, at least at first, seems to be preparing to be fairly like a close-to-rubber-samping institution (said that in the previous post) and that is worrying me. But it is true that Bemba may just be gearing up to control the Senate. That would be an interesting situation.

Kabila still has to prove that he is ready to be a civilian leader, as opposed to a military one. So let's wait and see how that potential strong opposition will be treated.

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