On 17 July 1961, the first elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy led by Belgium and Western powers for no other reason but greed and the fact that Lumumba was going to stop the West’s looting of DRC’s God-given natural resources.
The conspirators did not care about the people of DRC but were only interested in continuing with the looting. For that reason, they installed an insane man who was so evil that he only cared about the pocket change the conspirators gave him at the expense of his people. This evil man hated being black so that he lived most of his time in Europe and spent most of the pocket change the Europeans gave him there. While he was busy trying to be European, he unleashed so much suffering on his own people, especially those who wanted to have a say on how their country was run.
This week marks the 58th anniversary of Lumumba’s killing. This means that those born the same week Lumumba was killed have never seen a peaceful transfer of power in their lifetime. They have never seen an extended period of peace and stability. Have never seen universal quality health care funded by the government, education and development in the DRC. For 58 years and longer, people of the DRC have only known pain and anguish. This means that the world has forsaken the people of the Congo. It is understandable for those from afar not to feel anything, but today we are asking fellow Africans why they have abandoned their brethren in the DRC?
This week, the remembrance of Lumumba’s death coincides with another political crisis in the DRC and leaders of the Southern African Community Development (SADC) appear to be prioritising their friendship with outgoing president Joseph Kabila, at the expense of the people.
It is now clear that southern Africa’s largest country can no longer afford to lift itself from the political mess that has characterised it since its independence.
When Kabila agreed to step down, the Congolese people thought the political mess was over and they looked forward to a new beginning with the country holding elections to elect a new leader since 2001. But we were hit with a harsh reality that the mess will continue.
This is primarily because Kabila, who has been ruling DRC since 2001, refused to bow out of power peacefully and quietly. Instead, he prolonged the nation’s troubles by making a backroom deal with Felix Tshisekedi’s opposition party leaving his handpicked candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary in the cold while angering the coalition opposition of Martin Fayulu, which is thought to have won the December 30 elections.
Instead of accepting that his handpicked candidate, Shadary was going to lose elections, Kabila allegedly rigged the elections in favour Tshisekedi while also making sure that his own party headed by Shadary wins the majority of seats in parliament.
Kabila’s actions point to a former president who wants to be able to control and influence Tshisekedi’s decisions, especially when he has the majority in parliament.
Citizens from DRC and southern Africa at large have been pleading with SADC to intervene in the same fashion as the regional body did for Lesotho. The reluctance to act on the DRC feeds the narrative that, unlike Thomas Thabane – the prime minister of Lesotho, Kabila is a member of the old boys club. He is one of their own and SADC leaders will do anything to protect his interests.
The time has come for the regional body to put aside friendships and take actions that will benefit the people and not politicians. DRC the richest country in Africa in terms of mineral resources and has the potential to become Africa’s breadbasket.
SADC must act now and rid itself of leaders who do not act on behalf of the people for the benefit of the people.