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Gros nuages sur le pays alors que Kabila manœuvre pour rester au pouvoir au delà de 2016 /Congo-Kinshasa: Danger Looms in DRC As Kabila Maneuvers to Remain in Power / By Herman J. Cohen

Congo-Kinshasa: Gros nuages sur le pays alors que Kabila manœuvre pour rester au pouvoir au delà de 2016

Sombres perspectives en RDC où Kabila manœuvre pour rester au pouvoir

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Par Herman J. CohenPour les Chefs d’Etat africains autocrates, modifier les constitutions qui les limitent à deux mandats au pouvoir devient de plus en plus difficile, voire impossible.

En octobre 2014, le Président Blaise Compaoré avait instruit le parlement burkinabé de modifier la constitution afin de lui permettre de briguer un troisième mandat. Prenant les devants, des dizaines de milliers de manifestants en colère descendent dans les rues. Résultat: une Assemblée nationale brulée et un président de la République en fuite, s’évadant à l’aide d’un hélicoptère de l’armée française.

Entre juin et août 2015, le Président Nkurunziza du Burundi, de connivence avec la Cour Suprême, a profité d’une ambiguïté dissimilée dans la Constitution pour briguer un troisième mandat. Un acte qui va déclencher de violentes émeutes poussant des milliers de citoyens effrayés à trouver refuge dans les pays voisins. Bien que Nkurunziza ait été déclaré «vainqueur» d’une élection que tous les grands partis politiques de son pays avaient boycottée, il continue à faire face à une opposition farouche de la part de ceux qui l’accusent de violer la volonté du peuple qui refuse qu’un Chef d’Etat reste au pouvoir au delà de deux mandats. L’élément significatif dans la crise burundaise est l’absence d’une démarche ethnisciste au cours de la lutte contre ce forfait de Nkurunziza. Les citoyens hutus et tutsis se sont unis pour s’opposer à l’usurpation du pouvoir par le président.

Les tensions notées au Burundi ne baissent pas d’intensité à l’image des émeutes connues au Burkina.

Cependant, si le Président Joseph Kabila en République Démocratique du Congo persiste à vouloir violer la Constitution de son pays rien que pour rester au pouvoir au delà de l’expiration de son mandat en décembre 2016, l’instabilité au Burkina et au Burundi seront presque insignifiants.

Kabila a promis que l’élection présidentielle aura lieu, comme prévu, le 16 novembre 2016. La commission électorale indépendante a publié un calendrier électoral devant conduire à ce scrutin. Pourtant, rien n’a été mis en place pour matérialiser ce planning. Dans les cercles politiques on pense qu’il s’agit d’une volonté délibérée de glissement pour retarder l’élection sur une échéance indéfinie.

En janvier 2015, Kabila a suggéré de procéder à un recensement général de la population avant la tenue des élections. Un défi presque impossible à relever dans un pays de plus de 60 millions d’habitants avec des infrastructures dont l’état de délabrement est dans une situation très avancée. Cette idée de recensement en elle même a provoqué des émeutes à Kinshasa, la capitale ainsi que dans d’autres grandes villes avec comme résultat la mort de centaines de citoyens, tués par les forces de sécurité qui ont fait preuve de brutalités meurtrières extrêmes.

En août 2015, la commission électorale, une fois de plus, prépare lentement des élections locales et municipales pour la fin de l’année. Dans un pays dont la superficie et la population sont aussi importantes, tenir des élections dans des milliers de localités retardera sans aucun doute l’élection présidentielle de plusieurs années. Ce qui provoquera certainement une réaction populaire hostile. De plus, Kabila a découpé les onze anciennes provinces du pays pour en faire vingt-six. Une ruse qui ne fait que compliquer les choses. Un ensemble d’actes qui confirme que tout ce qui retarde la tenue inévitable de l’élection présidentielle, est à l’avantage de Joseph Kabila.

Entre autres agissements visant à retarder l’élection présidentielle, figure l’aspect financier. Au moment où le gouvernement du Président Kabila détourne quatre-vingt pourcent des recettes d’exportation des minerais du pays, une portion incongrue d’argent est annoncée pour financer la tenue d’élection. L’enveloppe requise pour l’élection s’élève à 1,5 milliard de dollars américains, selon l’estimation actuelle de la commission électorale. Une somme faramineuse et totalement exagérée. La communauté internationale qui s’est engagée depuis 2006 dans le financement des élections en RDC va certainement refuser de débourser une telle somme.

Ainsi, en ce mois d’août 2015, les perspectives de tenue d’une élection présidentielle, comme prévu en novembre 2016, deviennent de plus en plus incertaines. Le gouvernement américain est catégorique sur l’obligation constitutionnelle de tenir cette élection en novembre 2016. Washington ne va pas attendre le mois de juillet ou d’août 2016 pour faire pression sur le régime de Kabila. Si aucun préparatif n’est visible d’ici fin 2015, le gouvernement américain entamera sans doute des discussions avec ses partenaires européens pour imposer des sanctions sur la famille de Kabila et son cercle immédiat de proches conseillers.

Il est peu probable que l’opposition congolaise attende jusqu’à fin 2015 pour prendre des mesures contre le régime de Kabila lorsque le retard fatidique de la tenue de l’élection présidentielle deviendra de plus en plus évident. L’opposition est confiante car la donne politique interne dans ce pays a changé depuis les élections de 2006 et de 2011. Lors de ces deux joutes, Kabila jouissait du soutien de la population dans différentes régions du pays, surtout dans sa province natale du Katanga.

Alors que l’élection prévue pour 2016 pointe à l’horizon, il est clair, à présent, qu’il ne dispose pas de soutien, où que ce soit en RDC. Son gouvernement n’a pas réussi à réaliser de bons résultats dans la lutte contre la pauvreté malgré les importants niveaux d’exportation de minerais aux prix les plus élevés de l’histoire. De plus, son régime n’a pas réussi à ramener la paix dans les provinces frontalières orientales du Nord Kivu et Ituri, où les milices rebelles soumises à des gouvernements étrangers et les unités indisciplinées de l’armée nationale, pillent et violent sans relâche.

Au fur et à mesure que les jours passent sans que le Président Kabila n’affiche sa volonté de quitter le pouvoir selon la Constitution, il est fort probable que le peuple de la RD Congo prendra son destin en main. Ce qui est une perspective très inquiétante. Mais il est aussi important de signaler que l’instabilité dans ce pays risque de déborder dans les pays limitrophes notamment l’Angola dont la frontière Nord est dangereusement proche de Kinshasa.

Washington, le 26 août 2015

Herman J Cohen, est ancien Sous Secrétaire d’Etat américain chargé des affaires africaines dans l’Administration Bush entre 1989 et 1993.

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Congo-Kinshasa: Danger Looms in DRC As Kabila Maneuvers to Remain in Power

By Herman J. Cohen

It is becoming increasingly difficult for authoritarian African heads of state to change constitutions that limit them to two terms in power.

In Burkina Faso, starting in October 2014, President Blaise Compaore asked his parliament to amend the constitution to allow him to run for a third term. Before the parliament could act, tens of thousands of angry protesters went into the streets. They burned parliament and forced the president to flee his country in a French military helicopter.

In Burundi during the period June to August 2015, President Pierre Nkurunziza took advantage of an ambiguous clause in the constitution to run for a third term with the connivance of the Supreme Court. This unleashed major violence in Burundi, forcing thousands of frightened citizens to flee to neighboring countries.

Although Nkurunziza « won » the election, it was boycotted by all the major political parties and he continues to face violent opposition from those who accuse him of violating the will of the people, who want their heads of state to remain no longer than two terms.

(Of significance in the Burundi crisis is the absence of ethnic content in opposition to the president. Both Hutu and Tutsi citizens have joined to oppose the president’s illegal usurpation of power.)

The tensions and violence in Burkina and Burundi continue to be serious.

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But they will pale into insignificance if President Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of the Congo persists in his efforts to subvert the Congolese constitution by maneuvering to remain in power after his second term expires in December 2016.

Kabila has promised that the presidential election will take place as scheduled on November 16, 2016. And the independent electoral commission has published an electoral calendar leading to a presidential election. But nothing is being done to prepare for the implementation of that calendar. There is talk in political circles of a deliberate time « slippage » that will delay an election indefinitely.

In January this year, Kabila introduced the idea of conducting a general census of the population before an election could be held. In a country with more than 60 million people and with very poor infrastructure, such a program would take several years to carry out. The very idea caused violence in the capital, Kinshasa, as well as in other major cities, with hundreds killed by security personnel.

As of August 2015, the electoral commission is slowly preparing to hold local and municipal elections before the end of this year. Again, in a country with such a large land area and population, the conduct of local elections in thousands of jurisdictions would certainly delay the presidential election for several years. Opposition political parties are calling for the delay of local and municipal elections until after the parliamentary and presidential elections in order to guarantee that the latter will take place on time.

Elections of provincial legislatures could feasibly be done before the end of 2015. Since the legislatures elect members of the national parliament, the new national legislature could be in place before the presidential election in 2016. But the government’s determination to hold local elections this year appears certain to delay the presidential election indefinitely, and thereby guarantee hostile popular action.

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On top of all this activity, Kabila has carved up the country’s traditional 11 provinces into a new total of 26, making elections even more complicated and expensive. In other words, anything that delays the inevitable presidential election is good for Kabila.

Another maneuver designed to delay the presidential election indefinitely is an argument about its cost. Since the Kabila government misappropriates 80 percent of all mineral export revenues, there is little money left for the financing of elections. The current electoral commission estimate for the cost of the presidential election is U.S.

$1.5 billion. This is totally exaggerated. The international community, which has been financing Congolese elections since 2006, will certainly refuse to pay that much money.

With prospects for a presidential election taking place as scheduled increasingly unlikely, the U.S. government is adamant that the constitutional requirement to hold it in November 2016 be observed.

Washington will not wait until July or August 2016 to begin applying pressure on the Kabila administration. If no preparations are visible before the end of 2015, the American government is likely to start talking to its European friends about imposing sanctions on Kabila’s family and his immediate circle of close advisers.

The Congolese opposition is also not likely to wait until after the end of 2015 to take action. The opposition feels strongly because the internal political situation has changed since Kabila was elected by majority popular vote in 2006, and by plurality popular vote in 2011.

For those elections, Kabila had popular support in different areas of the nation, especially in his own Katanga province. But it is clear that he now has virtually zero support anywhere in the DRC.

His government has failed to deliver poverty reduction despite the highest levels of mineral exports in history, as well as the highest mineral prices in history. His government has also failed to deliver peace in the eastern border provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, where rogue militias beholden to foreign governments, and undisciplined units of the national army, continue to pillage and rape.

With every day that goes by without a signal from President Kabila that he will leave power as the constitution requires, the more likely it is that the people of the DRC will take matters into their own hands. The prospect is ominous. And instability in the DRC will certainly spill over into neighboring countries. This is especially true for Angola whose northern border is dangerously close to Kinshasa.

Herman J. « Hank » Cohen is a former United States Assistant Secretary of State. He is the author of The Mind of the African Strongman: Conversations with Dictators, Statesmen, and Father Figures.

By Herman J. Cohen

It is becoming increasingly difficult for authoritarian African heads of state to change constitutions that limit them to two terms in power.

In Burkina Faso, starting in October 2014, President Blaise Compaore asked his parliament to amend the constitution to allow him to run for a third term. Before the parliament could act, tens of thousands of angry protesters went into the streets. They burned parliament and forced the president to flee his country in a French military helicopter.

In Burundi during the period June to August 2015, President Pierre Nkurunziza took advantage of an ambiguous clause in the constitution to run for a third term with the connivance of the Supreme Court. This unleashed major violence in Burundi, forcing thousands of frightened citizens to flee to neighboring countries.

Although Nkurunziza « won » the election, it was boycotted by all the major political parties and he continues to face violent opposition from those who accuse him of violating the will of the people, who want their heads of state to remain no longer than two terms.

(Of significance in the Burundi crisis is the absence of ethnic content in opposition to the president. Both Hutu and Tutsi citizens have joined to oppose the president’s illegal usurpation of power.)

The tensions and violence in Burkina and Burundi continue to be serious.

But they will pale into insignificance if President Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of the Congo persists in his efforts to subvert the Congolese constitution by maneuvering to remain in power after his second term expires in December 2016.

Kabila has promised that the presidential election will take place as scheduled on November 16, 2016. And the independent electoral commission has published an electoral calendar leading to a presidential election. But nothing is being done to prepare for the implementation of that calendar. There is talk in political circles of a deliberate time « slippage » that will delay an election indefinitely.

In January this year, Kabila introduced the idea of conducting a general census of the population before an election could be held. In a country with more than 60 million people and with very poor infrastructure, such a program would take several years to carry out. The very idea caused violence in the capital, Kinshasa, as well as in other major cities, with hundreds killed by security personnel.

As of August 2015, the electoral commission is slowly preparing to hold local and municipal elections before the end of this year. Again, in a country with such a large land area and population, the conduct of local elections in thousands of jurisdictions would certainly delay the presidential election for several years. Opposition political parties are calling for the delay of local and municipal elections until after the parliamentary and presidential elections in order to guarantee that the latter will take place on time.

Elections of provincial legislatures could feasibly be done before the end of 2015. Since the legislatures elect members of the national parliament, the new national legislature could be in place before the presidential election in 2016. But the government’s determination to hold local elections this year appears certain to delay the presidential election indefinitely, and thereby guarantee hostile popular action.

On top of all this activity, Kabila has carved up the country’s traditional 11 provinces into a new total of 26, making elections even more complicated and expensive. In other words, anything that delays the inevitable presidential election is good for Kabila.

Another maneuver designed to delay the presidential election indefinitely is an argument about its cost. Since the Kabila government misappropriates 80 percent of all mineral export revenues, there is little money left for the financing of elections. The current electoral commission estimate for the cost of the presidential election is U.S.

$1.5 billion. This is totally exaggerated. The international community, which has been financing Congolese elections since 2006, will certainly refuse to pay that much money.

With prospects for a presidential election taking place as scheduled increasingly unlikely, the U.S. government is adamant that the constitutional requirement to hold it in November 2016 be observed.

Washington will not wait until July or August 2016 to begin applying pressure on the Kabila administration. If no preparations are visible before the end of 2015, the American government is likely to start talking to its European friends about imposing sanctions on Kabila’s family and his immediate circle of close advisers.

The Congolese opposition is also not likely to wait until after the end of 2015 to take action. The opposition feels strongly because the internal political situation has changed since Kabila was elected by majority popular vote in 2006, and by plurality popular vote in 2011.

For those elections, Kabila had popular support in different areas of the nation, especially in his own Katanga province.

But it is clear that he now has virtually zero support anywhere in the DRC.

His government has failed to deliver poverty reduction despite the highest levels of mineral exports in history, as well as the highest mineral prices in history.

His government has also failed to deliver peace in the eastern border provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, where rogue militias beholden to foreign governments, and undisciplined units of the national army, continue to pillage and rape.

With every day that goes by without a signal from President Kabila that he will leave power as the constitution requires, the more likely it is that the people of the DRC will take matters into their own hands.

The prospect is ominous. And instability in the DRC will certainly spill over into neighboring countries. This is especially true for Angola whose northern border is dangerously close to Kinshasa.

Herman J. « Hank » Cohen is a former United States Assistant Secretary of State. He is the author of The Mind of the African Strongman: Conversations with Dictators, Statesmen, and Father Figures.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201508271257.html

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