Democratic Republic of Congo:
How Can We Prevent DRC from Threatening Regional Instability?
Par Jean Oscar Ngalamulume
Ambassador for Peace & President of CIDES
In view of the current situation, the political situation in the DRC is extremely delicate. The major question is what is going to happen within the coming months and how can we prevent Congo from returning to threatening regional instability?
The fact is that the DRC will never be rebuilt in a climate of exclusion and revenge.
Peace in the Great Lakes region depends on the Congo when its leaders will not follow in its neighbors' footsteps, likely that happened in Burundi. Is it normal to start by fighting and killing people, after looking to dialogue for making peace?
Currently, DRC is reliving the turmoil experienced during the national sovereign conference period (1990 to 1996). In this respect, instead of political solutions, the radicals’ political leaders created the conditions that provided many rebels groups who killed more than seven millions Congolese people. That isn’t surprising considering there are the same political leaders as well feel comfortable with the status quo political situation?
However, the international community is putting pressure on the governement of the Congo to go through with the election.
The key question is how can the international community help the DRC to bring all sides together, with the spirit of reconciliation, to design a new political framework that will be far superior to the chaos of the past?
In Congo, one can’t govern country without being completely aware of popular opinion and the will of the Congolese people.
That is needed now to save the country from prolonged chaos, is to be truly committed in the dialogue before chaos and opening of Congo's political environment to simply allow smooth political and economical organisations to thrive.
That is why we still advice all actors on Congo's political stage to bring their different perspectives to the negotiating table, where reconciliation and a legal framework could be worked out. Such a framework would initially guarantee peace and formulate a calendar for free and democratic elections. Otherwise would mean to return to the failed politics of the past.
The dialogue should not decide vital policy questions for the future. This will be primarily the job of an elected parliament and an elected President. It is not as most participants see exercise as competition for power rather than as the preparation of smooth transition.
The recently facilitator nominated by AU (African Union) and accepted by all members of international community, His Excellency Edem Kodjo is a highly regarded statesman. He is expected to be a neutral and wise facilitator to the dialogue. His role is not to attempt to pick winners and losers. Rather, it will be up to the Congolese people to decide them self. And that we all know is the steps after the elections will enable the legitimate government to organize economic development and welcome private sector investment, to create jobs and increase standards of living in the DRC in complete transparency. The result of years of poverty and political instability is at levels well known to world the fundamental religious and terrorism activities are in great supply.
Before more damages are done, let face reality here: The Congolese problem isn’t politics, but economics.
Normally, the DRC will be governable when its economic and social needs are met and these will eliminate the tensions and conflicts that now overwhelm the country. Without some minimum level of economic well being, the laudable concepts of democracy become meaningless. Thus, a balance needs to be struck between the need for democracy and the need to fulfill the equally basic economic needs.
As we all know when the country’s Management hasn’t in control to full fill obligation per economic stability, conclusion is no joy in getting involved; we will all getting embarrassed at the end. Peace and security will not be achieved in the DRC without simultaneously taking concrete steps to end the culture of mismanagement, corruption and impunity that breed poverty, instability and atrocities.
Nobody would disagree that the poverty is providing fertile soil for political instability, because in the poorest of the poor countries, a dollar goes a long way toward buying allegiance and a following as fundamental religious and terrorism activities.
We understand that, to promote economic stability that needs a stable legal infrastructure, to cultivate a climate of political stability that will protect investment assets. To do so, the solution for peace in DROC should not be limited only to dialogue.
Based on what happened previously, we are making the economic reconstruction number one objective of the country. The time is ripe for some judicious action. In the form of a Western lead the initiative designing to bring together the region's powers in full support of an internal political settlement in DRC.
“The decimation of six millions of Congolese at the hands of the rebellion is still very fresh in our minds. For decades the DRC misappropriated Africa's rich resources. Time has now come to help Africa establish the rules and laws that can govern a nation fairly and democratically.” (1)
The threat of global terrorism in Central Africa can be reduced while working to minimize the widening economic imbalance between people. Continued poverty remains an important, indirect and hither to associated source of terrorism in world.
(1) Dr. Sehdev Kumar is Emeritus Professor and a Mediator, with focus on issues of peace and conflict.