M23, Union of Revolutionary Forces of Congo, Mai-Mai-Gédeon, Mai-Mai Raia Motomboki and over 100 armed groups killing and raping, Etienne Tshisekedi, Rwanda and Uganda’s ulterior motives, threats of balkanisation, secession in Katanga, violations of human rights, internal power struggles in ruling PPRD, Floribert Chebeya, killing and illegal detention of journalists and opposition politicians, and so on.
These few points constitute sharp thorns in the presidency of Joseph Kabila whose legitimacy continues to be fiercely contested, and whose regime appears to be at breaking point.
Some analysts are now convinced that a national dialogue could be a catalyst in resolving the Congolese crisis, which seems to have put the brakes on the rebuilding of a nation ruined by decades of poverty, dictatorship and economic mismanagement.
One name that keeps coming to the horizon is Denis Sassou Nguesso, the president of Congo-Brazzaville. But can he do the right job? He did it with the Central African Republic’s conflict, therefore his supporters think he can.
Christophe Rigaud, in his well-respected blog Afrikarabia, took a pessimistic view of the evergreen Nguesso, who he described as a ‘joker’.
Rigaud wrote: “The role of Sassou in the conflict in North Kivu is obviously not without ulterior motives. In cold for a long time with Kabila, his new entente with Kagame has ensured him some status of a regional leadership.
“Finally, the role of mediator makes him an indispensable element in the eyes of regional institutions, including the African Union, CEPGL, CEEAC, and the international community – a kind of life insurance for a president who is not immune to criticism (authoritarian regime, economic mismanagement).
“A mediator in the political dialogue in DRC certainly will not displease Sassou. It remains to be seen if Kabila will open the doors for him to do so.”
Nguesso, who has been ruling the oil-rich nation with iron-fist for more than 20 years, is said to own 18 luxury properties in France and 112 bank accounts overseas.
But, Afrikarabia reported that even if such a national dialogue were to take place, it is unlikely that Tshisekedi and his UDPS party will be part of its proceedings, as the 83-year-old veteran politician still insists that he was a rightful winner of the 2011 presidential elections.
Afrikarabia quoted a politician Murhola Fernandez as saying that it would be pointless to have a dialogue where the first three opposition forces – Tshisekedi, Vital Kamerhe and Mosengwo – will not attend. “It will not have an impact,” Murhola said.
Nevertheless, the role of Congo-Brazzaville head of state is also being opposed in certain quarters, as some see his newly-formed friendship with Rwanda President Paul Kagame as ‘suspicious’.
In the meantime, 2500 troops from SADC countries are coming on the request of Kabila, and another contingent of Blue Helmets (UN forces) will reportedly be deployed in southern Katanga, around Pweto and Likasi, on the request of Katanga governor Moise Katumbi to protect foreign mining investments worth billions of dollars.
While politicians turn and twist, and M23 and government talk to their last breath to find long-lasting solutions for the crisis, the country is sliding deep down into the mud, and could explode any time soon.
Watch this space!
*Photo courtesy of Presidentrdc.cd. Kabila, left, and Sassou Nguesso, right.