United we stand, divided we fall. This is the statement that is keeping opposition politicians in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sleepless, and giving them a glimmer of hope.
In a historic move, the country’s most popular opposition party, UDPS, has finally allied with UNC of Vital Kamerhe and FAC of Martin Fayulu, and all have vowed to die with their boots on like patriotic and dedicated soldiers.
UDPS is led by veteran politician Etienne Tshisekedi (84) and his son Felix Tshisekedi.
Kamerhe, whose popularity continues to rise, is a former ally of President Joseph Kabila, and is being seen as a serious presidential contender for the 2016 presidential elections in this vast Central African nation.
Kabila, who was helped by the United Nations (UN) to win the war against M23 rebels, is reportedly seeking to amend the Constitution to get a third term in office. This is what is driving the opposition mad to the extent of creating a common front.
The new platform, called Debout Congolais (Congolese, Stand up!) was created in mid-June, the well-respected Afrikarabia reported on Sunday, adding that the alliance includes at least 60 political parties and civil society movements.
The new alliance intends to achieve the following, among others:
• Keep Kabila out of power beyond 2016 by ensuring that he does not change the Constitution to seek a third term in office
• Take the current president of the Electoral Commission (CENI) to court, and challenge his appointment by Kabila
• Organise public protests, including marches and strikes
• Ensure that the electoral calendar published by CENI is complete by adding the schedule and financial details of the 2016 presidential elections
But, given the history of failed opposition alliances in this mineral-rich but impoverished country – ever since the rule of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko – many experts are sceptical about the success of the new alliance, saying internal struggles about leadership and lack of credibility have dented such projects in the past.
Many observers believe that DRC politicians are untrustworthy, hypocrites, and lack credibility and integrity, and are quick to ‘betray’ their colleagues at the first sight of big money and material benefits.
Again, time will tell!
Photo: UNC leader Vital Kamerhe (c) and UDPS’ Felix Tshisekedi (r). Courtesy of Afrikarabia