It always takes a bit longer than expected to get political decisions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on track. The nowadays on top subject is the National & Inclusive Political Dialogue since the facilitator, Edem Kodjo, has been nominated by the African Union Commission. The dialogue was announced in November 2015 and it was expected that within few days, it would have had its Preparatory Committee. Rather than rushing for legal and administrative reasons, it was however necessary to make sure that the forum would respond as much as possible to the intended outcome; reasonably understandable despite critics. This is a state management where people have to get rid of their emotions.
Based on the current political context, the article tries to unveil dialogue’s strengths and shortfalls. Nevertheless, the blogger considers that having a dialogue around safe and peaceful elections can slightly be worthwhile in a short term. Consequently, as the country has a huge of socio-economic problems that concerns the ordinary citizen; it would have been advisable that the Dialogue extends the scope of the forum on the primary needs of its people. That’s, the country and its leaders would rather be debating on equitably redistributing its resources, reducing poverty, harnessing the state authority in Eastern part…; while deeply checking what went wrong to the extent of being unable to organize timely elections.
It can be expected that the Dialogue will be organized with the participation of UDPS, one of the key and possibly important political party. The final outcome of the dialogue remains uncertain so long as the facilitation team and most of the participants are yet claiming the “inviolability” of the constitution. However, informed observer may clearly predict that it is intractable to meet the November 2016 first round of presidential and parliamentary elections; the highly enviable positions. Nevertheless, the scenario discussed in this essay postulates that Tshisekedi’s political party has likely agreed to take part of the “inclusive dialogue” as it finds the latter as panacea. The article assumes that UDPS is on the off- peak moment due to his leader health complication to the extent that engaging into election wouldn’t be among the best choices.
Therefore, the UDPS looks more or less concerned on distributing its internal cards and infighting conflict management. The party could probably survive a bit longer through a mechanism that won’t expose the party neither on the new emerging opposition leaders nor on electoral process in which UDPS leaders are seemingly unprepared for. UDPS would get its foot in the door so long as the presidential majority is also uncertain on what path to follow. Thus, the participation of UDPS to the dialogue constrains its leadership to mixed blessings of losing a slight support from their fanatics; while positioning itself as stronger partner into the likely “transitional government”, if any. The reasoning seems going beyond apparent political declaration that the Dialogue would do its best to preserve the constitutional arrangements.
In case a transitional government through what’s called “slipping” remains unavoidable, it opens to the UDPS an opportunity of recalling sympathies form its supporters as well as working on their internal problems. The best alternative is to take part to the process of seating and talk with the presidential in order of gaining ministerial positions to calm renegades’ spirits down. The reader won’t lose sight on the fact that UDPS may play a game of leaving the dialogue all the way to compromises. He, Tshitshi, remains unpredictable in front of political calculations. Though likely benefitting to the UDPS, the formation of transitional government or any a new government will inevitably affect the presidential majority through creating more dissidents. As we’ve been experiencing, most of these politicians remain engaged into political parties if they expect to gain positions in exchange. If these expectations won’t gain be met, most of these do give up their responsibilities. Hence, it can predicted that the near future will approximately affect he presidential majority with few of its cadres joining the opposition for positioning themselves as did recently others.
So what can we expect if the dialogue takes place?
The success of the dialogue must be a function of its inclusiveness as well as its commitment to rightly handle constitutional requirements. Is that pulling all political actors without renegades or opponents? No. However, it has to seek consent from key political organizations as well as civil society structures. In addition to that, it has to ensure that these shortfalls won’t arise again and again; that’s, handling once and for all these challenges of timely organizing elections. Nonetheless, the blogger viewpoint is that, the dialogue needs to more specifically concentrate on ordinary citizens’ demands than satisfying individual political ambitions. Redistributing political positions wouldn’t be the ultimate concern from our leaders. They rather have to consider the primary mission of a state.
So long as any of the key political organizations will decline the participation, it remains uncertain on how the dialogue will succeed. There might again be protestations organized by those out of the new process. The probable contestation or streets protestations are likely to happen when considering that “Dynamique de l’Opposition” and the G7 may still decline the invitation to attend the forum. Moreover, since Joseph Kabila and Moise Katumbi drifted apart, informed observer expect to see the move going harder and involving the military and security services (SS). The villainous effect of the break up between these two powerful leaders from Katanga Province is the way it would affect the core structures of SS. In case the SS would be toppled by the political move, street’s protestations may become harder to restrain. It even looms that some individuals within the military corps might have started to behave as backward-looking agents or swimming against the tide. Subsequently, the reader would foresee another reshuffle within the security apparatus for fixing these breaches that might have riddled the SS.
Despite the short term effect of the current DRC’s political context on the SS, the latter were yet somewhat feeble as the country was undergoing the process of reforming its forces. It’s obvious that SS are seemingly coherent in a real sense as this key component of power exercise was formed from multiple armed groups to the extent they are yet ready to face such challenges. Additionally, their socio-economic conditions are somehow unpleasant, especially for the rank-and-file soldiers. Their remuneration needs inevitably to match these challenges ahead of them. Otherwise, in front of any street contestations, it remains questionable to how security services would manage to handle them. That’s, handling the matter in terms of protecting civilians as well as narrowing collateral damages. For the sake of reaching this noble mission of SS, it requires a well-organized, well-equipped and disciplined SS apparatus. Consequently, streets’ contestations will possibly end up with human losses and rights abuses. Will the MONUSCO forces, under 2277 UN Security Council Resolution, be overwhelmed or being able to securing the population? The first possibility has a large probability to happen due to the fragile and confederal state founded on ethnic community’s features.
In case of any contestations involving civilians invading streets, experience has shown that young people, mostly unemployed ones would join for unintended purposes. 90s experience and recent ones have proved that streets’ contestations have harmed innocent people, who have nothing to do with politics. Moreover, the forthcoming crisis could change its shape to the level of confronting regional rivalries. These regional rivalries would possibly again affect the weakened military forces and SS in general. The military fragility would be the worst sides of the coin of failing to manage the electoral process within a context of state rebuilding. Subsequently, the large continent country would in a near future be facing the challenges of getting disentangled or dismembered. The 2016 elections might be a turnabout with the dialogue considered as the cornerstone for the surviving of the country integrity. Advised reader captures that society cohesion fails from political side than from the military. The cohesion can only be enhanced from accomplishing the state missions.
On the other hand, gloominess within the DRC’s political arena may turn into ethnic conflicts, especially from its eastern part. Beyond opposing regional rivalries such as Bangalaphones versus Swahiliphones, the confrontation between SS forces and population might contribute to breeding enormous armed groups as well as community’s militias. As matter of fact, some signs have been pointing to such plausible situation leading to community confrontation between neighboring ethnic groups while the situation was being stable. The case of North-Kivu and South-Kivu can explain a lot as well as confirming these types of violence. Strikingly, the reader would remind that these regions are fragile due to ethnicity as they became conflict prone. The proximity with regional power countries and their interferences into DRC internal affairs have played a negative role in worsening these climates. Electoral tensions in DRC would probably be an opportunity from regional powers to play their games and plans. Don’t we have to be cleaver than ever to avoid the implosion of the beautiful DRC?
In a nutshell, the blogger wonders who is responsible of all these messes. Do we have any reason of letting DRC fall again into violence? Was it yet earlier to have the country embracing the so-called alternating political regime? The blogger wishes to see these predictions being wrong and having the dialogue process succeeding and solving all these problems. However, the blog requests to political leaders to paying attention on ordinary citizens’ multiple demands regarding their socio-economic conditions improvements instead of sharing the “cake”. Furthermore, it takes the occasion to remind that local population, especially in Eastern part, have extremely suffered from armed violence and conflict. Therefore, there is a need of underscoring that our first priority isn’t possibly elections wherever these may deteriorate the country’s security. It warns all these people planning to benefit from violence that history will hold them accountable. It’s a time of being responsible to save the country from falling into huge violence as well as keeping its unity. What’s your opinion?
NTANYOMA R. Delphin
Secrétaire Exécutif & Coordonnateur
Appui au Développement Intégré &
à la Gouvernance
Compte Twitter @delphino12