7 months ago

Diplomatic World_nummer 56.

November 30h, for

November 30h, for example, I wanted to go to the protest and was prevented from leaving my house by police officers. The police officers stayed in front of my house to prevent me and the demonstrators who were outside waiting for me from demonstrating. They were scattered rapidly and some were wounded. Most of the media support Kabila and are paid by him. Free journalists who try to oppose this and report freely and truly, are often punished. They are falsely accused with fabricated stories. A journalist I know was arrested and tortured on November 29th. He was abducted and tortured for two days, whilst I had met him only hours before. Afterwards he was presented to the media and was forced to say that he had not been threatened or tortured. Some journalists and human rights defenders have it even worse and are killed; the best known is Floribert Chebeya who was killed in June 2010. This is everyday life in Congo. In this context there is no point in talking about elections because they seem impossible. How are we supposed to go to elections with a government that forbids us from making peaceful demonstrations? They forbid us to go to our bases and militants to speak to them and discuss with them. We do not even have the right to do that since they banned all political gatherings. Any gatherings. There is no way to fully function like this. To have legal and honest elections, we must expel the current leaders from power and hope that things will evolve. We have two ways to achieve this. The first is with the population, through endless demonstrations asking for his departure. The second way is a call to the International Community. We hope that the world will finally understand that it is not possible to have elections with Kabila. He does not want elections in Congo because he does not want to leave power. HOPE Angola is a very good example of how things can change. Angola had 25 years of war which produced a generation of young people who did not have the chance to go to school. The country set up a group of executives that function in a company’s framework during the day and that teaches young people at night, organizing courses to help them upgrade. I think there is a way to find solutions similar to this. Congo could also benefit from foreign experience and we are no longer excluding this, since we saw this approach was successful in Rwanda. The Rwandese population was decimated so a lot of foreign experts came to help put an administration back together. What works for Congo can be judged when the time comes. Congo’s greatest treasure are the youth, that I know for sure. We have roughly 60% to 70% of the population that is made up of young people, which is a real plus for the future. Young people are eager to learn and they learn very quickly. There will be a way to set up remittance programs to try to make up for the delay we are living through now. But as I said before, the trick is to have the right framework to make all of this happen. If the framework is serious, everyone will move in the same direction, but if we continue in the same way as today, it will not work. A government’s focus should not be on how everyone can fill their pockets. The challenge for the next President is to bring change for the better. For us it is an honour to be there and witness the first steps of a new Congo. I am certain that many teachers, schoolteachers, technicians, engineers, farmers, etc. will want to work in Congo, even if only for weeks or months to teach. For this country has everything it needs to succeed! 78 The Constitution is clear: a president can stay for a maximum of 2 terms and then it is over. A first mandate can be renewed one time, no more. Therefore, we ask the International Community to help us make Kabila leave by sanctions. In our view, we must sanction him and his family because they are the ones stealing from our country. It will take targeted sanctions against him, his brothers and his sisters. We think that the pressure we put on him internally and pressure from the International Community will make him leave power. Nobody doubts that we need change but it takes more than thinking or believing. FÉLIX ANTOINE TSHILOMBO TSHISEKEDI • Son of celebrated opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, who defied Presidents Mobutu and Kabila. • Has described as “Stalinesque” the government attempts to muzzle the opposition. • Relative political newcomer, criticised by some for inexperience. • Lived in Belgium for many years before entering politics at home.

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