Chipenzi says Kabila must be isolated and told in no uncertain terms he was pushing the vast central African nation on the brink of war.
BELOW IS CHIPENZI’S WRITE UP
WELCOMING JOSEPH KABILA OF DRC: A DISPLAY OF WEAK LEADERSHIP IN SADC
The SADC region will continue to be a laughing stock on the African Continent, if not the entire world, from a soft coup in Zimbabwe, to a presidential recall vote by a political party in South Africa and now to an unconstitutional president in DRC.
How, in all fairness, can Zambia be that country that welcomes and accommodates Joseph Kabila with presidential decorum? He does not deserve such treatment at all. These are the times when I greatly miss late President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa. For him, he would have already spoken his minds out and that of Zambia on Kabila’s unconstitutional stay in power like he did on Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.
Don’t President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and his government aware that Kabila’s constitutional electoral mandate ended in 2016 and his current stay in power is unconstitutional as he is refusing to vacate office despite repeated demands from his people? Does it mean that Zambia’s cries over the refugee situation are bogus or cosmetic? One would think, with the facts on the ground that Zambia has greatly suffered in terms of asylum seekers and refugees over Kabila’s decision to cling onto power even after his electoral constitutional mandate expired in 2016, the country would be more firm on Kabila to relinquish power.
But alas, it seems that our leaders and/or some people in Zambia are benefiting from the situation prevailing in the DRC hence their accommodation of such unconstitutional president into the country at the same time claiming to be a constitutional democracy without any kind of social shame. Not too long ago, this government, through Cde Steven Kampyongo, was shedding crocodile tears in Chienge District over the asylum seekers and refugee situation in Luapula Province.
He and President Lungu even appealed for international help from the international community towards the refugee crisis in the country but at the same time having no problems in accommodating Kabila as a friend. Was that appeal of financial help a fundraising project for them if they are not interested in resolving the electoral and political crisis in the DRC?
Yet, despite deputizing the SADC organ on Politics, Defence and Security known as the Troika, the same government seems to be so happy to strengthen trade and other bilateral ties with this electoral leper in the region notwithstanding the butchering of his people happening in his country while he clings onto power.
In serious democracies, Kabila would have suffered isolation, economic and travel sanctions within the SADC region and on the African Continent. He would not have been allowed to attend SADC or AU functions. As usual and the African and SADC practice, it will take the UN, US, Belgium et al to impose sanction on this unconstitutional president while Africa and the region in particular continue to accommodate him amidst atrocities against his own helpless people in the name of sovereignty.
When I last wrote that President Lungu was not the right person to offer electoral assistance to DRC after his unsolicited gesture to do so, whatever that meant people never took me seriously but today, they have come to my side. Would the Congolese people ever trust President Lungu if he became the electoral mediator in the DRC, I doubt it very much!
It is disheartening to see how SADC has remained tolerant to Kabila and yet millions of Congolese women and children are suffering while their fathers are butchered in war as soldiers or militias. SADC should be very assertive on unconstitutional change of governments. It is clear however that SADC is weak on this score and in the past, it has been good at accommodating electoral manipulation as was in Zimbabwe in 2008 and other countries making the bloc.
In conclusion, this is a repeat of SADC’s inertia when it comes to resolve regional political and electoral conflict. In Zimbabwe, although late Cde Morgan Tsvangarai won the vote in 2008, SADC could not help the electoral and political situation in Zimbabwe but adopted a non-responsive approach of quiet diplomacy while ousted leader Robert Mugabe clung on to power. However, God has his own ways of making people achieve their goals.
Today, even as we mourn Tsvangarai, he dies a happy man because he saw with his own naked eyes and was part of the crowd that celebrated the ousting of Robert Mugabe which was one of Tsvangarai’s political life goals.
Therefore, Kabila should be told off to respect the constitution and allow elections to be held in that country to usher in a new beginning for the people of the DRC. If we had robust CSOs, students and trade union movements, opposition politics as is in South Africa and religious movements, Kabila would not have been allowed to touch on the Zambian soil.
These movements would have protested against Kabila even on hearing, he was coming to Zambia to meet President Lungu but alas, the Congolese people have to sympathise with themselves as SADC leaders and the citizenry are absent minded over their plight.