Saturday, December 24, 2016

‘Western Dark Forces Out to Destabilize DRC’
December 24, 2016

The Interview with Christopher Charamba
Zimbabwe Herald

 On Thursday, Mr Samy Badibanga was sworn in as Prime Minister of the DRC in a Government of National Unity with President Joseph Kabila. Elections have been set for April 2018, however, there have been protests by some in the opposition calling for President Kabila to step down following the end of his term on December 19. The Herald’s Christopher Charamba (CC) sat down with the DRC Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Dr Mawampanga Mwana Nanga (MMN) to further understand the political situation in the DRC.

CC: Presidential elections in the DRC were meant to take place in September this year, but this did not happen. What stopped elections from happening?

MMN: First of all, you have to keep in mind that there are those who talk so loudly about democracy. When it suits them, they push democracy, when it doesn’t suit them, they obstruct democracy. There are dark forces that want to recolonise this continent.

Here’s what happened, the Electoral Commission published three different calendars, on how they wanted to have elections before the president’s term came to an end. Each time that calendar was rejected and shut down by the so called opposition supported by those dark forces.

The former president of the Electoral Commission Bishop Malu Malu, a catholic priest, died because he was poisoned by the dark forces. A lot happened such that the elections could not take place.

When elections could not take place, at the end of the day we had to go back to the constitution. A group of MPs went to the constitutional court to find out what we do? What does the constitution say if the election does not take place at the end of the second term of a president? Because the constitution says two terms and you’re out.

Now we are at the end of the second term, we all know that there will be no election. Another reason why the election did not take place is lack of money. These dark forces who have been looting Africa, could have put the money down, but they never did. If that was the question, they should have put down the money and said go on and organise your elections, but they didn’t.

It’s just like Zimbabwe, whenever they see that Zanu-PF will win, they backtrack. Remember in 2013, they wanted to continue the Government of National Unity because their stooges were there.

It’s the same thing in the DRC. They always obstruct when they know that they will not win. So elections did not take place and on May 11, 2016, the constitutional court made a ruling, that if the election does not take place, any other article that the opposition is trying to use, such as there is a coup or the president is incapacitated, those articles do not apply.

The article that applies here is Article 70, the second paragraph of that article which says at the end of his term, the president remains in office until an election is held and a successor has been designated. Then he hands over the key to that duly elected successor.

The opposition will have none of that with their supporters in the West. They then went on a campaign and if you read the pieces in Western media, they say Kabila is a dictator, he doesn’t want to go and wants to cling to power, but it’s not Kabila, it’s the constitution.

As we speak the Electoral Commission is enrolling voters and updating the voter’s roll. The opposition should be campaigning for their supporters to go and enrol and police the programme, but they don’t. They just say Kabila has to go. That’s where the riots are coming from.

CC: When will it be feasible for elections to take place and how the country be governed up until that point?

MMN: First of all, there has been a dialogue that has been moderated by Mr Edem Kodjo from Togo who was sent by the African Union. On October 18, an agreement was reached that the president will remain in office. However, in order to make sure that there are no shenanigans from either the ruling party or the opposition, he had to appoint a prime minister from the opposition.

That prime minister is Mr Samy Badibanga who took the oath of office in parliament on Thursday. He also presented his programme which is articulated towards organising elections and bringing the people together.

The governing party and the opposition forces have to come together in what is called a Government of National Unity in order to govern the country until April 2018.

During this period the president cannot sack people as he would like because it’s like a transitional period. The agreement is there and that agreement has the blessing of the African Union, SADC, all the regional organisations and even the UN. So that is what is governing the country until April 2018.

CC: Why are there protests and riots if there is an agreement and if it has been sanctioned by the AU and other regional and international organisations?

MMN: The protests are happening because of the so called dark forces who don’t want Africa to be at peace. Those who pull the strings in the background. They did everything to derail the negotiations and they are die hard extremists like Mr Etienne Tshisekedi who did not want to come to the dialogue.

These are the ones, plus the Western media, campaigning. You live it here all the time where they call people to come to the streets saying Mugabe must go. In 2008 you had a situation here and your constitution was clear and saying if someone doesn’t get 50 percent of the vote it must go for a run off.

The opposition here, instead of going to campaign for the second round what did they do? They were all over Africa saying Mugabe must go and calling the people to riot to destabilise the country.

Those are the dark forces pushing for riots so that the country will be unstable and the economic crisis will deepen. Then they will say if you’re suffering it’s because Kabila is in power. So that is the source of all the riots. Unfortunately for them, people are not buying that.

The only way we had some people who died is because they dragged some unemployed youth and paid them to go and start breaking into stores, to ransack and the private security had to protect the premises and that then resulted in the death of some people.

CC: In terms of the riots and protests could you give us an understanding of what’s happening on the ground now?

MMN: On the evening of the 19th and the 20th there was a lot of tension in the air and close to 20 people lost their lives unfortunately and we wish that their souls would rest in peace. Nobody wants any African to die unnecessarily.

But the people at the end of the day have understood that our constitution says you can only take power through elections. And the people now know that we are in a transition and elections will take place about 16 months from now. So they are waiting. Those who are calling for riots don’t have many customers anymore.

The security forces have also done their job professionally. If you remember September 19, more than 50 people lost their lives when all these riots started. In October, nothing happened and in November nothing happened.

They decided that each 19th day of the year from September there would be rioting and protesting. But the security forces did such a good job that in October nobody died and in November nobody died, but in December because that was their biggest push it resulted in about 20 people losing their lives.

Now though things have calmed down and people know that the only solution to our problem is to and enrol and wait for the election to go and cast your ballot.

CC: When elections come around in 2018, does the ruling party have a candidate that they will put forward to contest since President Kabila’s two terms have come to an end?

MMN: In our constitution President Kabila cannot run for a third time. He knows that and he as always said that he will not run again and violate the constitution. Now the problem in DRC is that this is a country with about 400 ethnic groups and you know how elections are in Africa, people go to vote on an ethnic basis.

The ruling coalition has no less that 100 parties. The minute you choose a candidate, the ruling coalition may break. Up to now they are holding and have not appointed a candidate yet. Probably at the end of the day there may be some primaries or a congress or a conference like Zanu-PF held in Masvingo to choose a candidate.

But it has to be as close as possible to the election because if you do it too early the coalition may break and that is the best recipe to lose the election. As of now the ruling party which is called MP, in French, Majorite Presidentielle don’t have a candidate.

They say we will cross that bridge when we get there. When the Electoral Commission calls for candidates then we will organise ourselves and give our candidate. But you cannot say the person now because if you do, what will happen is they will just shoot him down, bad mouth him and in the end you may lose.

CC: How is the government managing the situation in the DRC and the calls from Etienne Tshisekedi for people to protest?

MMN: First of all, the President has been very smart. Remember here, once when Mr Tsvangirai became a candidate for the first time? What did Zanu-PF do? They took someone from his area, when he wanted to contest as an MP, somebody he grew up with, one of his elders I think, to contest against him on the Zanu-PF platform and he lost the election.

So what did the ruling majority do? After the agreement of October 18 where a big chunk of the opposition joined us, we went and took the leader of the parliamentary caucus of Mr Etienne Tshisekedi’s party. That guy used to be an advisor to Mr Tshisekedi and we appointed him prime minister.

That has neutralised Mr Tshisekedi. When elections took place in 2011, he said that all the MPs elected from his party should not go to parliament. But they said “no, when we were elected it was by the people and we are going to parliament to represent the people. We were not elected by you and you cannot tell us what to do.”

So these are the MPs who have now joined us and their leader in parliament is now the prime minister. This neutralised anything that Mr Tshisekedi wants to do. First he said the MPs should not go to parliament. What kind of a leader is this?

Now his guys have been sitting in parliament, he doesn’t want them there, what does he want? People at the end of the day don’t listen to him anymore. There is now this government and most of the people behind Mr Tshisekedi can also seem themselves with Mr Sady Badibanga the new prime minister.

That is something that will carry the day and people have faith in the government and not listen to the dark forces which are telling them to go on the street and lose their lives unnecessarily.

CC: How is the current situation in the DRC affecting the geopolitics of the region?

MMN: The geopolitics of the region is that you have two major political currents. The Pan-Africanists, those who fought to free the continent from the colonial yoke. You can name MPLA in Angola, Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe, Chama Cha Mapinduzi in Tanzania, Frelimo in Mozambia, ANC in South Africa and SWAPO in Namibia. These are the progressive forces.

On the right you have the neo-colonialists. Those who never wanted us to be free in the first place. Those who wanted us to be under the yoke of our colonial masters. They keep working with the dark forces to bring the continent down.

But as you can see if you look at the region, the progressive forces have the upper hand today and all of them be it in SADC, CILGL, the AU all support what is happening in the DRC and are making sure that the DRC remains peaceful.

If the government in the DRC was to fall today and the negative forces were to take their place, then they will continue and campaign to take out of power all the progressive forces that I have been telling you about. But as we speak now I don’t think they will win their case. The progressive forces will carry the day and the region will continue to be stable.

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