“In Congo, the power vacuum is as absolute as it is worrying”

Institutions are broken down while the rebels have never been closer to Goma.

Is our president really at home, in Brussels?”, asks a Congolese parliamentarian from the ranks of the majority. Since Sunday April 7, Félix Tshisekedi left the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the head of presidential communications, denying the information which claimed that the President of the Republic had passed through Rwanda, “he is rather traveling abroad for urgent matters linked to the country”.

For the moment, there is a complete blackout on the presidential agenda and the door is open to all rumors while on the eastern front the rebellion of the Congo River Alliance (AFC) led by Corneille Nangaa, has never been so close to Goma.

The rebels have bypassed the town of Saké which is the last barrier before Goma,” explains a Belgian-Congolese living in the capital of North Kivu. “Sake is empty. The center of the city is on a plain that is difficult to defend. Occupying sake is therefore not of much interest”, we explain, Wednesday afternoon, in the ranks of the rebels who say they continue to progress towards the south.

Institutional paralysis

This continued advance of the rebels, coupled with the presidential absence, only heightens concerns and questions in Kinshasa. “No institution is functioning, it’s very worrying”, explains a boss of a Kinshasa SME. “The economic situation is deteriorating. Socially, it is more and more gloomy and there is no perspective, no political project. We have a new Prime Minister but she is incapable of forming a government,” he continues.

Tshisekedi in Brussels: good intentions, but nothing against corruption

In fact, the National Assembly is installed but the office of seven people who will manage it has not been designated. At issue, a trench war between several candidates for the presidency of the National Assembly. “The names of Christophe Mboso, the outgoing president of the Assembly, Modeste Bahati, the former president of the Senate, and Vital Kamerhe, Tshisekedi's former running mate in 2018, who has already occupied this perch, are cited for this position. It is up to the President of the Republic to decide. As long as he is absent, the National Assembly will be paralyzed and there will be no new government either”explains a Western diplomat.

Indeed, for the moment, the country has been in the hands of a government that has resigned for a month and a half. The Prime Minister, designated by the Head of State, consults, comfortably installed in one of Kinshasa's 5-star hotels. “Which costs the Congolese state a fortune,” explains an international civil servant passing through the capital, who does not understand “why this work cannot be done in a ministry or building that belongs to the state. This country has the art of living beyond its means”.

DRC: The “rebels” are progressing in the east, a dialogue with Kinshasa seems illusory

But for the moment, the party leaders are not rushing into the corridors of the Fleuve Congo hotel to meet the head of the executive. The trainer, the secretary general of the presidential party (UDPS), Augustin Kabuya, reviewed the distribution key for ministries. Previously, 7 deputies were needed to qualify for a ministry. Today, the number has increased to 10, which is causing discontent among the majority families who will have fewer moroccos. “This is a real concern for many parties affiliated with the Sacred Union”, explains a deputy. “But as long as the office of the National Assembly is not in place, the future government cannot be presented and cannot present its program. The rapid return of the president is therefore necessary to unblock the situation”.

As for the Senate, it is completely out of time. Congolese senators are elected by the provincial assemblies which have just been installed and which must also elect the governors of the country's 26 provinces. The Senate which is still in place in Kinshasa is illegal, its mandate, provided for by the constitution, has been exceeded. President of the republic absent, National Assembly and future government paralyzed, Senate outlawed and governors not appointed. The institutional void is total in a country which recently threatened to go to war at the slightest skirmish with one of its smaller neighbors.

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