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DRC: Ruling coalition issues rare self-critical report, blames Kabila

By Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, in Kinshasa
Posted on Friday, 3 January 2020 09:32, updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2020 10:29

Joseph Kabila, at the inauguration of Felix Tshisekedi, on January 24, 2019. Jerome Delay/AP/SIPA

Joseph Kabila’s coalition, the Common Front for Congo (FCC), has made public the “real” reasons behind the party’s loss in the December 2018 presidential elections. The critical report takes aim at the country’s poor management under former head of state Kabila, indicating it contributed to Emmanuel Shadary’s defeat.

Betrayals, the late nomination of a candidate, the unfair distribution of campaign funds and materials, egocentricity and conflict among leaders. . .

On Monday 23 December, at Kingakati, in the suburbs of Kinshasa, the Common Front for Congo (FCC), led by former President Joseph Kabila, disclosed the recommendations made during his first political conference in November at Mbuela Lodge, in Kisantu, Kongo Central province.

Before drawing up recommendations, the party explored the pro-Kabila alliance’s operations one year after its creation, but also analysed the causes behind its defeat in the December 2018 presidential elections. The FCC’s report is rare in its self-criticism.

It was not an early Christmas present.

Poor management of the DRC under Kabila

Several factors contributed to the loss of Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the candidate nominated by Kabila as his heir apparent. Doubts about whether the election would be held, the “demonisation of voting machines”, the unfair distribution of campaign materials, the poor management of funds allocated to the election campaign and numerous rows among leaders about moral authority on the eve of the election all played a part in the FCC’s loss.

While “poor communication” about Kabila’s track record concerning his management of the country in the last two years of his presidential term was blamed as a major contributing factor, the report also stressed that the climate of discord with the Catholic Church bolstered an anti-Shadary campaign.

Speaking before FCC’s management at the end of November, Shadary lamented the decision to postpone the elections, initially set to be held on 23 December, until 30 December, which he stated “ruined our chances of winning”, but he also remarked that it is time to move on and “break free of distracting concerns over who could have helped the FCC win at the time of elections”.

Kabila defends the FCC-CACH coalition

In a speech at Kingakati, Kabila praised the FCC’s members for their discipline and cohesion and said that the party has exemplified these qualities since the elections. “Some people said that we would become divided, but we have remained united”, he added.

The former head of state clearly asserted that the FCC’s coalition with Félix Tshisekedi’s Direction for Change Coalition (CACH) is important to him and specified that he agreed with his successor on the adoption of various political, economic and security reforms. “I am a man of my word. I signed an agreement with Tshisekedi and I will respect it”.

With majorities in both houses of parliament, the FCC, which is focused on returning to power in 2023, wants to usher in election law and voting procedure reforms.

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