Kabila reevaluates his plans

Africa Confidential has a good update on Kabila’s latest machinations to stay in power. There’s a lot of speculation that the protests over Blaise Campaore’s plans to stay in office had led Kabila to reconsider his proposed constitutional modification to give himself a third term.  But, as any good strongman knows, there are many ways to stay in power, and he’s clearly brainstorming other ones.  From the AC piece:

Speculation is rising that the probable postponement of local elections due in June and October is part of a plan by President Joseph Kabila to put off next year’s presidential election. … The government says it wants to ensure the reliability of the electoral register by conducting a national census first. The opposition fears that the real goal of the exercise, which would be difficult and controversial, is to delay both local and national elections. …

Kabila is planning not only to coopt [the opposition by offering them top political positions] but to confront. Last September, he appointed his favourite trouble-shooter, Major General Gabriel Amisi Kumba (aka Tango-Four), a notorious former militia leader, as operational commander of the Western Defence Area, which just happens to include the provinces where Kabila’s 2011 presidential vote was lowest (AC Vol 55 No 19, Kabila for ever). …  The new Defence Minister appointed in December, Aimé Ngoy Mukena, is a former Governor of Katanga whom the think-tank International Crisis Group held responsible for sponsoring militias which are creating havoc in North Katanga.

2 thoughts on “Kabila reevaluates his plans

  1. Congo (DR) is a very interesting case study for student of IR. The fascinating thing – as Jason Stearns noted in a recent lecture at West Point Department of History – is that “Congolese policy makers tend to come up with institutions (i.e. holding democratic elections), that end up holding them accountable”. This is precisely what the Congo is currently witnessing. It is impossible to amend the constitution at this point – and the elites know that. Adding to this is the Burkina-Faso incident. Many Congolese are saying that a similar thing is going to happen if they attempt to amend the constitution. Having said that, we have to be careful in reading what is taking place, there is danger that things will be (and are) politicized and used by the opposition to advance their agenda, and that includes sacrificing lives of innocent people.

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