Should SADC use the ECOWAS Strategy to Deal with Joseph Kabila’s Impunity?

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Zambia Foreign Minister Harry Kalaba (RIGHT) chats with Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila at UN Headquarters on Monday 22-09-2014. PHOTO | CHIBAULA D. SILWAMBA | ZAMBIA UN MISSION

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 Barrow won the poll and should be inaugurated on 19 January.However, Jammeh rescinded his defeat acceptance later claiming the poll was flawed.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

39 COMMENTS

  1. +18
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    The international community should send in special forces to capture Kabila and he should then be put on trial for TREASON!

    Africa will only move forward when these thieves and looters know their crimes will no longer be tolerated.

    Otherwise they will continue to think they can murder their own citizens with impunity and Africa will have dozens of Syrias.

    • +10
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      DRC is not a small country with a small army like Gamba…Kabila has very rich backers from the so called “International Community” bleeding the country’s resources because of his stay in power.

  2. +21
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    You cant expect SADC leaders to intervene in the DRC disaster because that will set standards for them to abide. They are all products of violence in one way or another and do you believe Mugabe, Museveni, Pierre and Lungu can support an ECOWAS like action? If you still have faith in these guys, its in your own interest to change the medication you are taking because its not helping you think at all.

    • +13
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      Military and police force of SADC are trained to protect criminality of “leaders” (lol), not to enforce Law and Order or Human Rights.

  3. +11
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    Ecowas over the years has shown Leadership in solving Electoral Disputes in the region. Ecowas has used diplomacy and force where necessary to ensure that the Will of the People is respected. Ecowas is indeed a Club of Democrats.On another hand SADC has shown that it is useless,toothless and a Club of Dictators. In 2008 the Opposition in Zimbabwe won elections and for 5weeks results were not announced. SADC instead of forcing Mugabe to concede defeat they forced a GNU led by Mugabe who lost the Election. The SADC Chairman,Thabo Mbeki of South Africa at the time presided over the sham GNU. Now in 2016 Zimbabwe still under dicator Mugabe who is 93 years old in 2017 is even in more mess than b4. In Zambia 4 months after a disputed election and Lungu went on to swear himself in power without…

  4. +6
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    They are all the same. Don’t you remember ours tasting they waters going to tell lies in Mozambique that there was debate back home about him not going for elections in 2016 because he was supposed to have a 5 year mandate from the 2015 elections. Bamo bene

  5. +6
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    Ecowas is showing good leadership in its region. It is taking pro-active action to deal with the Election Dispute in Gambia. Ecowas is doing the Right thing to protect the Will of the People and avoiding social strife. DRC is a member of SADC so the current Chairman of SADC should convene an urgent meeting to resolve the DRC Crisis. Already 40 people have killed. Kabila’s 5 year Term has ended and SADC should force him to leave power within an agreed timeframe. In Zambia 4 months after elections there is an Electoral Dispute. SADC should not wait until people are killed. They should insist that the Will of the People should be respected. The petition must be heard so that we know who actually won the 2016 Elections. If indeed Lungu won it he should prove it in Court. The proper hearing…

  6. +7
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    Are South African forces not in DRC under the auspices of SADC? They are protecting Kabila to stay in power rather than asking him to leave power after his 5 Year Term ended. SADC is a Club of encumbent Dictators rather than Democrats. SADC has Electoral Guidelines which Lungu has flouted but SADC has taken no action. SADC is waiting for Zambians to start killing each other and only then will they spring to action and call for a GNU instead of insisting on Lungu allowing the Petition to be heard. Ecowas is more progressive and action oriented whereas SADC Dictators are always there to protect each from loss of power thru democratic means.SADC has no respect for the Will of People. They protect each other to stay in power. No wonder SADC has taken No action on the Notorious Joseph Kabila.

    • +6
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      Lungu won elections twice in these last two years. That’s not a mark of a dictator. It’s not like he has lost countless times and does not want others to try also.

    • +2
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      The most dumb politicians in the world are Sadac leaders.instead of making their countries prosper they degrade them.yet they think they are smart,clever!!!! It’s simple math:build proper democracy system in yr country,protect civilians leave office by constitution=live peaceful and respected life afterward. I don’t know what’s really happy abt being a president who hide all the time,have securities all the time because ur killing yr fellow humans on daily basis. When the people are finished,then I’ll start ruling animals in the national parks or zoo!!!!

      This is 2017 not 1990s this type of leadership called” killingitic” need to stop in SADAC countries.
      It’s time for leaders to respect,protect civilians.
      Sarah=leaders with no sense.

    • vote

      Wazabanga precious name. What are yo talking about, this is a serious matter. Why are you commenting nonsense?

  7. +4
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    Hameene! When did PF hold a Convention? In 2015 Lungu held a sham Convetion is Kabwe. Right now PF old members are calling for elections becoz MMD Members have virtually taken over their Party. PF has been swallowed by RB’s MMD and now it is only PF in name. Why should New Members who are in essence MMD Members takeover our Party and alienate old PF Members?We feel that Lungu has betrayed us and is busy promoting members from Eastern Province to higher positions in PF based on ethnic grounds. While RB is fighting and positioning his MMD Members in PF, Lungu is naively alienating us from the Party. The RB MMD Members are reaping where they did not sow. We want loyal members of PF to also be rewarded. How can we accept to be dominated in our own house by foreigners from MMD? No matter what…

  8. +3
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    That the way to go we have had to much nonsense in the SADC region I feel stringent measures are needed to restore sanity in our Southern and eastern regions. There is too much uncalled for behavior amongest the so called leaders as they feel they are indispensable! Kabila should be dealt with sternly.
    Fumapooooo!!!! pacipuna apo abantu bakwate ubuntungwa ala!

  9. +1
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    That the way to go we have had to much nonsense in the SADC region I feel stringent measures are needed to restore sanity in our Southern and eastern regions. There is too much uncalled for behavior amongest the so called leaders as they feel they are indispensable! Kabila should be dealt with sternly.
    Fumapooooo!!!! pacipuna apo abantu bakwate ubuntungwa ala! twanaka naimwe.

  10. +4
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    These pussies in SADC are nothing. Otherwise why do you think that fossil called Mugabe is still clinging on to power while they stand aside and watch? Lungu rigged the polls in broad day light and everybody else in SADC stood akimbo like some Nubian janjaweeds watching a desert sunset herding goats back home.

  11. +3
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    It’s not how many MPs you have that gets you to win presidential elections. There is a system we use here. It’s called 50+1%. In America Hillary got 2 million plus votes more than Trump but did not clinch the presidency because of their system there.

    • +2
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      My bro Saimbwende, Raph is a dull PF cader and as such no amount of sense can change him. Some people are like that. Just leave him to die in his ignorance. There is completely nothing that you can say that can change his thinking. Stay blessed bro Saimbwende.

  12. +1
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    Unfortunately, the difference between Gambia and DRC is huge. In DRC Kabila has not refused to leave power. It’s a twisted version of the truth. The problem in DRC revolves around election… what kind of elections the people and political leaders would want to have. I understand that opposition leaders blame him for not being able to organise elections in time (fair enough) but then they should have sat together in the discussions surrounding this ages ago…

    In the dialogue chaired by Kodjo, politiciens had to chose from three options. 1) Organize élections this year December with same imperfect registrar used both in 2096 and 2011, 2) create a new register that will allow about 10 millions new young adults to votell and eradicate duplicates and deceased people from the vote…

  13. +3
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    SADC should use forces to get stupid Kabila out of DRC. This men think he can rules CONGO …more than 32 years like Mobutu another dictator. African Union is one of weakness institution in world cannot make decisions.

  14. +3
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    Sadly for SADC, there is a precedence by which they must abide. Please check similar recent happenings in Burundi. That is the precedence. It is this, if not anything else, that ties SADC’s hands. At this juncture, SADC can’t afford to be seen applying double standards. It’s too late.

    If Burundi, small as it is, was too big for SADC to handle, then Congo DRC, as big as it is, is hardly small enough for them to manhandle. By contrast, ECOWAS enjoy a difference kind of precedence. Under similar circumstances, they have intervened in member countries before. That is their strength; SADC’s Achilles heel.

  15. 0
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    People here mixing up several different issues. Yes the circumstance n DRC might be different from that in Gambia and Burundi and I think it might be too early to consider military intervention. For those casting aspirations on SADC, are you aware that SADC has 15 countries which include Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa etc….all considered very democractic. Burundi and Uganda are not members of SADC. by its geo-positioning and being Franco-phone straddles EAC, SADC and the Central African region…hence not a clear responsibility of any the parties

  16. +2
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    SADC is toothless. Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa are supposed to have led the SADC block to pressurize Kabila but they are all in bed with Kabila with various investments in that country. East Africa like Uganda and Rwanda have also changed their constitutions to suit dictatorship and cannot point a finger at Kabila. SADC and East Africa block is toothless and full of dictators.

  17. +1
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    Forty people were killed, one hundred and seven people have been injured or ill-treated and four hundred and sixty Arrested.

    Causality of these is Kabila refusal to leave office and SADC looking the other side.

    This looks bad for Kabila Administration and SADC.

  18. +2
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    Very interesting and profoundly analysed articles. SADC will never become a real force for change so long as it is lead by people by Mugabe-type of leaders

  19. +1
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    African Union (AU) must grow teeth and not remain as a baby that cannot even crawl. The AU is a total failure on the African Continent just as the UN globally. Regimes that don’t accept the rule of law must be crashed with the vigour it deserves. Kabila, Nkulunzinza and the South Sudan leaders should be flushed out.

  20. +1
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    All SADC leaders have private interest in the Drc, they are toothless, all corrupt. Some of SADC leaders are democratic and respects their countries constitution, but the fact that they have personal businesses in the Drc, that make them not acting on the matter, because they will loose their interests.

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