DRC: Kabila’s party sets a course for 2023
Joseph Kabila is coming back to politics, his dauphin in the December 2018 elections, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, announced at a meeting of party leaders in Lubumbashi last week.
“Our ultimate ambition is to win an unequivocal victory as a political party in the next presidential election,” said Shadary, opening the meeting which has been going on since Wednesday in the former presidential party’s stronghold in Haut-Katanga province. He also announced that Kabila “has decided to return to politics in the next few days”.
Shadary, the permanent secretary of the Parti du Peuple pour la Reconstruction et la Démocratie (PPRD), addressed a crowd of some 250 party bigwigs. These included Jeanine Mabunda, speaker of the National Assembly, Néhémie Mwilanya, coordinator of the Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC, a platform of which the PPRD is the main component), former interior ministers Henri Mova Sakani and Evariste Boshab, Léonard She Okitundu, former deputy prime minister for foreign affairs, and Kalev Mutond, former head of the National Intelligence Agency.
Shadary was also working to establish his leadership of the party, praising the electoral successes achieved since December and setting the course for the coming months.
In fact, Kabila’s party controls almost all the institutions of the Republic. The former president’s lieutenants head the National Assembly, the Senate and the Prime Minister’s Office. “The party will be deployed throughout the country to revitalise its image in preparation for the upcoming elections, and in particular the presidential elections of 2023,” he told Jeune Afrique.
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Kabila’s chosen successor, who came third in the December poll after Félix Tshisekedi and Martin Fayulu, has also striven to minimise the impact of the elected head of state. According to him, the new executive, based on a coalition with Tshisekedi’s Cap pour le Changement, will merely “continue the work of rebuilding the country initiated by Joseph Kabila”.
Shadary even has the gall to appropriate one of Tshisekedi’s key policies – free education – for the PPRD: “It is our programme, Joseph Kabila’s programme. Free education is recognised in the Constitution. And the constitution was promulgated by Joseph Kabila.”
Within the ranks of the Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social (UDPS), Tshisekedi’s party, there is a pretence, for the time being, of not taking offence. “These are the classic objectives of any political party: to win power. There is nothing surprising about this,” said one UDPS leader, who requested anonymity. But internally the alliance with the former president’s party is a source of deep dissent, with pressure being exerted by the party’s militant base.
This article first appeared in Jeune Afrique.