DRC dismisses Masisi’s claims

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By Charity Ruzvidzo

Harare – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mwawampanga Mwanananga, has dismissed claims by Botswana that President Joseph Kabila will contest again for elections in December, claiming that he is misinformed.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi this week called for President Kabila to step down saying he is worsening the humanitarian situation in that country by persistently delaying elections.

Reports say DRC security forces and opposition parties are at loggerheads following Kabila’s long stay in office.

Ambassador Mwanananga said President Kabila, contrary to President’s Masisi’s utterances, will not be contesting for presidency in December.

“President Masisi should have waited for the outcome of the (SADC) Double Troika meeting to air his grievances on the DRC rather than tell the Western media that President Kabila does not want to step down; that is not true.

“We all know that Botswana is the biggest stooge of the West. President Masisi wanted to be good to his paymasters. This is why he displayed his ignorance. We know that all their diamonds are sold to the West, they enjoy the money and it is not distributed equally to the people. It’s very easy for a mono-ethnic small country like Botswana to criticise the DRC. Botswana is a very small country that cannot give DRC lessons,” he said.

Mwanananga said political security in his country was not volatile as publicised in the media.

“The biggest challenge we have is that the DRC is rich with resources that Western countries want to tap into. We are refusing to let them tap into the resources and together with assistance from opposition parties, the Western media is giving out wrong information. Political security is very stable, of course, there are instances where people get into arguments and fights but it’s not as volatile and explosive as the media is putting it out to be,” he said.

“President Kabila will not stand. Our constitution is clear, two times and you are out. The fact that he is still there is not that he wants to cling to power but because he is respecting our constitution, which says that only the National Independent Electoral Commission has the ability to organise elections. As long as they don’t organise elections, he cannot just leave, he stays there until the next organised election. 

“The ruling coalition party in DRC has not named a candidate for Presidency yet, which is why l think there is high speculation that President Kabila wants to contest again... the reason is that it is made out of more than 60 political parties. All these political parties have leaders and each one of them would like to run. So, to keep the coalition together, President Kabila is waiting for the electoral commission to call for candidates. After that, a meeting will be held to choose who will run for the ruling majority. If it is done too early it will bring splits and others might start throwing mud on the chosen candidate,” he said.

The DRC has reportedly snubbed efforts by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Special Envoy and former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba to visit that country and assess the situation. 

But Ambassador Mwanananga said the DRC and Namibia have sound bilateral relations.

“President Kabila did not snub the SADC envoy. The DRC belongs to several groupings and among them, we have SADC. He attended the Double Troika Summit in Angola, which addressed a number of issues, including the political and security environment in the region, and preparations for the DRC elections. This is a clear indication that he respects the SADC,” he said.

Mwanananga said opposition parties in the country were against the voting machines purchased from South Korea to cut the cost of manual voting.

“Some voting machines were imported from South Korea because running elections is very costly in the DRC. We are the second biggest country in Africa. Opposition parties asked the electoral commission to reduce the cost of elections and they purchased the voting machines. After the machines were bought, the opposition turned to say, the machines are rigging machines. The voting machine is similar to those that were used in Belgium and the Netherlands; we are not the first ones to use that machine. They have run to the Western media to say the manual system is better than the machines bought to cut costs,” he said.

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