DRC: Félix Tshisekedi sinks into denial on the eastern front

Nangaa crowd bath, attack on Kabila, a hard-hitting homily and the historic appointment of a Prime Minister, an Easter weekend under high tension in Kinshasa

Forty days after the resignation of Prime Minister Sama Lokonde, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi appointed, on April 1, Judith Suminwa Tuluka, a fifty-year-old from central Kongo and from his UDPS party, as head of the Congolese executive. .

Mrs. Suminwa Tuluka graduated from the economic faculty of Mons (like Guylain Nyembo, the president's chief of staff). In the DRC, before entering politics, Ms. Suminwa Tuluka cut her teeth in the banking world before joining the United Nations, at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), as a national expert in a community support project in the east of the country.

I know that the task is big, the challenges are immense, but together (…) we will get there”, she explained in her first public outing on national television (RTNC) shortly after the announcement of her appointment. She added: “I am aware of the great responsibility that is mine”saying he wanted to work “for peace and development” in the DRC, so “that the Congolese people can benefit from the resources” from the country.

Very tense moment

The first female head of government in the Democratic Republic of Congo takes office in a climate of security and political tensions exacerbated by the crisis in the east of the country.

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Indeed, Félix Tshisekedi, who had promised since his arrival in power in 2019 to bring peace to his country, still fails to influence the forward march of the men of the Congo River Alliance led by Corneille Nangaa who, at the eve of the Easter holidays, enjoyed a walkabout in Kiwanja, in the Rutshuru territory in North Kivu. A communication which hurt Kinshasa's narrative which consists of reducing the weight of this man and his organization on the eastern front.

On the ground, the AFC continues to progress against a poorly paid, undisciplined and poorly equipped Congolese army that is fleeing combat. The troops sent by three southern African countries (Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa) change nothing. An observation which also applies to Congolese volunteers (wazalendo), often from rebel movements in the region, who have no training and are incapable of integrating into any military system. “Incidents between the population and the wazalendo or between the Congolese army and these wazalendo are more and more numerous”, indicates a member of civil society from North Kivu who asks to remain anonymous and who adds: “the behavior of these Congolese soldiers and the wazalendo plays into the hands of the AFC which generally behaves better towards the civilian population”.

Félix Tshisekedi, locked in his denial of any responsibility for the resumption of violence in the east under his first mandate, continued to accuse Rwanda but also other neighboring countries and the international community of being responsible for the crisis major crisis that the DRC is going through today.

At the same time as this outing, the secretary general of the UDPS, the presidential party, pointed an accusing finger in the direction of the former President of the Republic Joseph Kabila, presented, in turn, as one of those responsible of the current instability in the east of the country. “Joseph Kabila discreetly left the country because he is responsible for the current insecurity situation in North Kivu”, declared Augustin Kabuya. Present until the beginning of January in the DRC, Joseph Kabila did not appear at the inauguration ceremony of Félix Tshisekedi on January 20, explaining in a missive that he had had to be absent to concentrate on his academic work in Johannesburg, South Africa. A letter which caused a big stir in the first circles of power and security in Kinshasa where no one knows how to explain how the former head of state was able to leave his farm in Lubumbashi without any service responding. see. “He didn’t want to disturb,” explains, a little mockingly, a close friend of the “raïs” who claimed, a few days before this accusation by the leader of the presidential party, that “Joseph Kabila will soon return to the country. He will make it known publicly”.

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Shocking message from the cardinal

To crown this non-Easter truce, the Congolese power, in dire straits, also had to face a severe and very political homily from Cardinal Ambongo during the Easter mass. The cardinal did not hesitate to speak of the DRC as “a state in agony. A seriously ill man in a comatose state”, a country “without an army to defend its integrity” territorial. He also mentioned the passage of several personalities from the former majority in the ranks of the AFC: “We can call them traitors, they took up the enemy's cause, but the basic question is why did these people act in this way? It's because here, we continue to take actions that hurt others, that weaken national communion, that exclude.”

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