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DRC: T.I. Petition & Elections Debate

"Master of the Universe" at Lukalaba market
“Master of the Universe,” a threat to Kabila? By Etienne Ngandu

Today UDPS Liege echoes an AFP article announcing the presidential election will take place July 30. The election was postponed for a year last June and the July 30 date is later than the June 30 deadline mandated by various transitional laws.

Earlier this week blogger Tony Katombe proposed (FR) on Prince du Fleuve du Congo that he and compatriots from the country and abroad petition Transparency International to “investigate the allegations of the implication of Louis Michel, William Lacy Swing, Aldo Ajello and other international officials in the illicit exploitation of mining resources in the Katanga, the Kivu and Kasai… The idea is to bring T.I. to … establish that the conception and orientation of this corrupted system is the making of these western gentlemen who act in the Congo as in a colonial outpost.”

Invited by blogger Philippe Liondjo who runs Le Prince, others, like MuanaCongo, chimed in:

depuis le début de cette transition, nous avons adressé de centaines de mémos aux représentants de la communauté internationale. Cette même communauté a diligenté des études dont les résultats attestent de manière irréfutable et définitive le pillage de notre pays, notamment par le clan Kabila … Si vraiment nous aimons notre pays, soyons réalistes. Le seul acte patriotique qui vaut la peine d'être entrepris aujourd'hui, c'est une révolution soit populaire, soit armée et pourquoi pas une combinaison de deux.

since the beginning of this transition, we have written hundreds of memos to international community representatives. That same community has facilitated studies which attest irrefutably and definitively that our country has been looted, especially by Kabila's clan … If we really love our country, let's be realistic. The only patriotic act that is worth undertaking today is a revolution, either popular or armed or better yet a combination of the two.

Desire Katompa, bypassed the topic of the petition but also talked about struggle, defining it differently than MuanaCongo:

Seule la lutte libère! Qu'est-ce que la lutte? La lutte c'est se reveiller le matin pour aller au boulot, la lutte c'est au boulot chercher à être le meilleur, la lutte c'est chaque jour faire du mieux que l'on peut pour faire avancer les choses qui nous tiennen à coeur.

Only struggle brings freedom! What is struggle? Struggle is to wake up in the morning to go to work, struggle is to be the best at what you do, struggle is to everyday do one's best to make what one is passionate about happen.

He seems to think that participation in the election, not armed struggle, is the solution:

Les négociations amenent le concensus, les élections amenent la soumission du vaincu. Cherchons donc à être les vainqueurs afin de soumettre nos adversaires. Nous avons toutes nos chances pour barrer la route à Kabila et au PPRD. Ne nous laissons pas impressionner par les muscles, regardons la réalité en face, et surtout scrutons notre âme et notre revolte, reportons cela sur les 25 millions des congolais.

Negotiations bring about consensus, elections bring about the surrender of the looser. Let's try to be the winners so as to submit our opponents. We have a chance to stop Kabila and the PPRD in their tracks. Let us not be impressed by muscle, let us look reality in the eye, and specifically let us examine our soul and our fight, we need to leave this up to the 25 million Congolese.

Philippe Liondjo, the founder of Le Prince, also contributed his two cents:

pour moi, l’initiative proposée par Tony Katombe est un plus dans notre lutte … je suis pour cette idée, tout en étant aussi dans la ligne de pensée de notre frère Badibanga pour une révolution populaire d’ampleur.

in my mind, Tony Katombe's initiative is a plus in our struggle … I am for the idea [of the T.I. petition] while also being for brother Badibanga's idea of a large popular revolution.

On a lighter note, Etienne Ngandu at Le Renouveau Congolais posted a photo essay of Kasai province, its second this year. One picture was of a potential political rival to both the PPRD and the opposition, a certain “Master of the Universe”:

Tous les politiciens kinois n'ont qu'à bien se tenir. Voilà le redoutable adversaire politique de Lukalaba qui va tous les battre. Sur son tableau figurent déjà tous les titres qu'il porte: PAD MIBA, Gouverneur Kasaï-Oriental, President RDC, Président Union Africaine, Maitre du monde, etc… Bref un fou qui amuse les gens au marché de Lukalaba.

Kinshasan politicians beware. The ultimate political rival from Lukalaba will beat them all. On his board he's already written all the titles he holds: PAD MIBA, Governor of East Kasai, President of DRC, President of African Union, Master of the Universe, etc. … Okay, I'm referring to a crazy who entertains marketgoers at Lukalaba.

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