By Peter Sinkamba
Joseph Kabila’s mandate as president of Democratic Republic of Congo expired this week on Tuesday after serving the constitutional two 5 years-terms and another 5 years. Practically, he has ruled Congo for 15 years, which is three terms.
However, Kabila has refused to leave office. He has postponed presidential elections which were scheduled for last month, simply because he wants to amend the constitution to allow him stand for a third term. He has postponed the elections until at least April 2018. If allowed to amend the constitution, stay on till April 2018, and contest the elections, he will rule Congo for 21 years.
The masses have rejected his scheme. At least 40 people were killed, 107 people have been injured or ill-treated and another 460 arrested this week during protests against Kabila’s refusal to leave office, the UN human rights office said in Geneva.
Yesterday, under the mediation of the Catholic Church, Congolese politicians agreed in principle to a deal under which allows Kabila to stay on, but leave office by the end of next year instead of 2018. However, Kabila in a show of defiance has not signed the deal. And it remains unclear he will ever sign it in coming days.
Kabila’s impunity is a product of weak political regional cooperation in SADC. Of all Regional Economic Communities (RECs), SADC is certainly the weakest link. There is too much mediocrity in SADC. How I wish SADC had strong and proactive leadership like ECOWAS.
Already, for nonsense going on in Gambia, ECOWAS positioned Senegal’s troops on red alert to intervene in Gambia if President Yahya Jammeh refuses to step down next month, the regional bloc says. President Muhammadu Buhari, appointed chief mediator by Ecowas, has a fine line to tread.
Jammeh initially accepted defeat in the 1 December poll by property developer Adama Barrow. Barrow won the poll and should be inaugurated on 19 January.However, Jammeh rescinded his defeat acceptance later claiming the poll was flawed. He seized power in 1994 and has been accused of human rights abuses in his 22 years in office, and wants to cling on.
ECOWAS chairman said yesterday Senegal had been chosen to lead operations “to restore the people’s wishes” if needed.
“If he loves his people, he has to be able to negotiate an exit door calmly. If it doesn’t happen, the most radical means will be used,” said Marcel Alain de Souza, chairman of the ECOWAS commission.
Jammeh says he will not be intimidated. He says ECOWAS has no authority to interfere. But watch this space, come January 19, 2016, Senegalese troops will overrun Gambia and install .
So, Jammeh has until that date to comply with the mediators.
I think SADC and the East Africa Community (EAC) should emulate ECOWAS leadership to deal with the impunity of Kabila and Pierre Nkurunziza, the Burundian President!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What do you think?
The Author is the President of Green Party of Zambia, an opposition Political Party