Congo’s Kabila chases an unconstitutional, unpopular re-election
Congo ruling party shows all signs of seeking Kabila third term
KINSHASA (Reuters) – From the sprawling capital Kinshasa to villages deep in the equatorial forests, Congo’s ruling PPRD is in full-on election campaign mode – and President Joseph Kabila’s face is everywhere.
The deadline for declaring candidates for Democratic Republic of Congo’s scheduled Dec. 23 poll is just one month away, and Kabila, 46, is officially not allowed to run again: August 8, 2018
NO SIGN OF A SUCCESSOR
But his bearded portrait smiles down from billboards and T-shirts being printed by his People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), while there is no sign of a successor.
Kabila intends to bypass the constitution and run for a third term. Any such move would likely ignite chaos across the vast, mineral-rich country, which has never seen a peaceful change of power in the 58 years since independence from Belgium.
Kabila is unpopular in the capital Kinshasa and many parts of the country. A rare poll released in March showed that eight in 10 Congolese have an unfavorable opinion of him. Scores have died in protests since he refused to step down when his mandate expired 18 months ago.
Militias have proliferated, killing and displacing villagers, kidnapping foreigners and shutting down eco-tourist spots. The violence has even hit mining operations in Africa’s top copper producer and the world’s leading miner of cobalt.
WHAT LEGAL BASIS?
Long before the changes, the court had ruled when Kabila’s mandate expired in 2016 that he could stay on until the poll. What poll? Another option for Kabila is to hold a referendum, as his allies have sometimes suggested and as the presidents of neighboring Rwanda and Congo Republic did.
Resistance could come from Congo’s Catholic church, which has slowly transformed from a mediator for peace to lightning rod for dissatisfaction with Kabila: the bishops will never support” a Kabila third term.
It would also set Congo on a collision course with Western powers and its neighbors – both of which have a history of meddling in its affairs. Wars between 1996 and 2003 sucked in nine African armies and killed millions.
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A Future in Africa
There is no doubt that Africa is well braced to become the Future Food Basket of the World.
Since the year 2000, there have been 27 major wars on the planet and 90% of these wars were civil wars, not because of ethnic diversity but because of a declining economy along with a lot of uneducated and unemployed teenagers. This happened despite the abundance of commodities. This resulted in a substantial brain drain of a knowledge-based world. Uganda use to be called the Switzerland of Africa before Idi Amin began the country’s biggest brain drain.
The countries that get rich are the ones who attract great minds or those countries that educate their own. Most of Africa does not, so it has little hope of accomplishing anything beyond survival. Africa has become irrelevant in the knowledge economy. So the developed economies have generally abandoned many of these countries to their fate: failing or falling apart.
Most of the inhabitants of Africa, even South African, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo with all their resources have become poorer today that they were twenty years ago. In the last 35 years since 1970, the richest countries grew by 2%, while the poorest third countries did not grow at all. Many African countries either don’t get it or they simply can’t keep up. They get distracted by looking in their rear view mirror of culture and nationalism.
Land and people have become an instrument to be used and controlled. Large tracks of land are being purchased at bargain basement prices by large international companies. This is exactly the opposite of what should happen: land and people should be the main means of generating wealth.
African countries need governments that provide economic and political stability. A government’s job is to attract and keep smart and entrepreneurial people and to encourage the launching on new companies in the country. If what it really counts is having smart people, then they have to be willing to share one’s time and space in order to interact with them. They need to discover how this can be done — not why it can’t be done. These new companies will demand a “hands-off” from bribery and collusion.
We are living in an explosive age of knowledge because of the Internet and Google. The rules are different in a knowledge economy. If you cannot use new-found knowledge and equity, you will remain uncompetitive. A measure of knowledge intensity is a simple formula: Value-Added Exports/Commodity Exports. If the ratio is less than one, the country will remain vulnerable to commodity cycles.
The basic industry of the planet is agribusiness. Most of humanity is living from growing, transforming, distributing and selling food. Those who are not market savvy or technologically-literate in agriculture are going to have a hard time.
The good news is that history can change faster than one can expect. It all depends on a country’s ability to adapt and adopt an ethical, political and economic challenge and to use the knowledge
wisely. Africa is well braced to become the Future Food Basket of the World.
Living Water MicroFinance Inc. proposes to begin important changes: Continue reading CONGO’S UNPOPULAR RE-ELECTION