When Constantino Chiwenga, Zimbabwe's vice-president and health minister, suspended by-elections in October 2020 citing Statutory Instrument ... (SI) 225A as a means to curb Covid-19, many believed a new date would be set. Instead, the government has remained silent on the matter, with many wondering if this is truly a measure to control the pandemic, or a strategy by the ruling Zanu PF to stop the MDC Alliance from winning back seats it lost after the recall by its breakaway party, the MDC-T.
This is another setback for the Kabila household. Zoe Kabila was dismissed on 6 May by the provincial assembly of Tanganyika, in Katanga.
Although he was the subject of a motion of censure, which was signed by 13 members of this assembly, he did not appear before the representatives to defend himself. Most of them are close to Moïse Katumbi, the former governor of Katanga, who supports President Tshisekedi.
Zoe Kabila has been in Kinshasa for several weeks. According to someone close to him, he regularly goes there to see his family. Until recently, he was waiting there – according to his entourage – until an appointment with the head of state was available.
“Terror and dictatorship”
According to the motion of censure filed by the members of the provincial assembly on 4 May, which was examined by the full assembly on 6 May, Kabila was accused of “opaque management of provincial funds”. In particular, for embezzling 3.8bn Congolese francs ($1.9m) that were allocated for “salary arrears and exit allowances” of previous cabinet members.
The elected officials also claim that part of the sum granted to the province by the Fonds de Promotion de l’Industrie was misappropriated, as were the sums allocated to the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kabila was also accused of a “lack of leadership”, “incompetence”, “bad governance” and a “lack of consideration”. These elected representatives went further and accused him of “sowing terror and dictatorship”, of “not respecting budgetary allocations in terms of revenue and expenditure” and of taking credit for the central government’s achievements in Tanganyika.
The motion of censure even stated that Kabila “suffers from a notorious intellectual deficit that prevents him from being accountable for his management and speaking before the members of the provincial assembly”.
Despite being put under pressure for several weeks, Kabila is the only governor who has not joined Tshisekedi’s Union Sacrée. According to those close to him, he was the target of this impeachment procedure because he refuses to support the head of state’s new coalition.
“He was put under pressure because he did not want to join the President, as others did. This is intimidation,” said a leader of the Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC) who is close to Kabila, a few weeks before the vote.
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“His refusal did not influence this process,” replied the spokesperson of the provincial assembly. “The provincial assembly has been ignored by the governorate for two years, and its members understood that things had to change. We had a strong governor but not a strong government.”
The former governor of Manono, which was the family’s original stronghold and where former president Laurent-Désiré Kabila was born, has regularly shared photos of the province’s infrastructure projects on social media. Only 13 out of 23 members of the provincial assembly – it normally has 25 members but two are currently suspended – were present at the session. They all voted in favour of dismissing Kabila.
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