The Sheedi are a community of African-Pakistanis whose history to the region is not known for certain. Many were brought over by Arab traders ... as slaves as far back as the 8th century, while others claim a strong Islamic connection through the Prophet Mohammed. Centuries later the thriving community of over 250,000, are still not accepted as locals in their native Pakistan.
Received by Félix Tshisekedi at the African Union’s administrative base in Kinshasa on 6 January, Lambert Mende, Joseph Kabila’s former Minister of Communication and long-time spokesman for the Congolese government, met for nearly an hour with the head of state.
Mende came to finalise the alignment of his party with the Sacred Union, the new majority that Tshisekedi is currently forming to counter Kabila’s influence. He was accompanied by one of his close staff members, Thierry Monsenepwo, who was acting on behalf of the United Congolese Convention (CCU) and its allies.
One memo, three safeguards
The former minister, now deputy of Sankuru, tabled a memo written by the nine elected representatives of his group. According to our information, three key points appear in it. First of all, the CCU members and their allies wish to clarify how the future Sacred Union will function: will it take the form of a coordinated political platform or that of a political party? The Head of State confirmed that it would take on the structure of the former.
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In the second point, the CCU asked for a guarantee: that the creation of this new majority would not be used to conduct a “witch hunt” against members of the Common Front for Congo (FCC), Kabila’s platform. It also demands that Tshisekedi ensure the safety of his predecessor.
Finally, the members of Mende’s group have requested, regarding membership of the Sacred Union, that the president grant them responsibilities in the National Assembly, in the next government and in public enterprises.
With these assurances, the former minister must now report the minutes of the meeting to the elected members of the CCU, before his party can officially join the Sacred Union.
According to some close to Mende, this accession is a direct consequence of growing frustrations within the FCC deemed too “dependent” on certain leaders within Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD). In 2019, the former minister had suffered a surprising setback in the election for governor of Sankuru, while the FCC, on the other hand, holds a majority in the provincial assembly.
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