Editor’s Note: A lot has happened in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since the December 30, 2018 elections. In this analysis, our own Uniqua Smith scouted the web and other sources for news and information following the historic transfer of power in the nation.
In the process of finding out what is taking place Smith says learning about the DRC is like drinking out of a fire hydrant. She says she is astounded by how much there is to learn about the DRC.
“That research was like drinking out of the fire hydrant. Every time I gained understanding of one thing, I learned another,” Smith tells us. On the election matter Smith thinks “Perhaps the DRC should work through this one on their own- just until we get our own criminal investigations finalized.”
That investigation she refers to is the investigation by the U.S. Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, into allegations that Russia meddled in or influenced the 2016 American presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.
After a long-awaited election, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) saw what is being called The First Peaceful Transfer of Power in 60 Years on January 24, 2019; when Felix Tshisekedi has inaugurated as President of the DRC.
Despite many online rumors such as this one, that President Tshisekedi died during his inauguration speech, he is alive and well and has successfully assumed his position as Commander-in-Chief.
During his inauguration speech, Tshisekedi fell ill though, due to sweltering heat and his bulletproof vest being too tight, according to reports taken by President Tshisekedi’s bodyguards.
The January 24 inauguration marks the first time that the DRC has seen a new president in 18 years, 23 years since the last time the country was not run by a member of the Kabila family, and approximately 60 years since the last time that the DRC has had a living former President.
Tshisekedi defeated another strong opposition leader- Martin Fayulu in the highly controversial December 30, 2018 elections- winning the majority votes – 38 percent to Fayulu’s 34 percent- according to the Country’s Electoral Commission (CENI).
Since the elections, there has reportedly been a lot of civil unrest, as losing opponent Fayulu has urged citizens nationwide to call a protest-feeling as if the elections had been rigged, and that Kabila struck a backdoor deal with Tshisekedi in order to maintain his power over the DRC.
While the notion appears far-fetched considering Tshisekeidi’s father; Etienne Tshisekeidi was a long-time opposition leader and rival to former President Felix Kabila, many citizens are taking Fayulu’s claims to heart.
The Catholic Church even weighed in on the election- having employed 40,000 of their own “election day observers” the Catholic Church alleges that Fayulu is the rightful winner of the election and undoubtedly added much fuel to the fire. There have reportedly been as many as 12 killings in connection with the elections since the transfer of power.
As many members of the Trump Administration are currently facing federal indictment and tons of its own post-election drama stemming back from 2016, the Council on Foreign Relations and some news outlets have voiced their opinion that it is necessary that the US intervene in the electoral affairs of the DRC.
Post- Inauguration Affairs for President Tshisekedi
If civil unrest and election scandals aren’t t too heavy a burden to carry, the newly elected President also has some immense legislative battles ahead trying to maneuver past the largely pro-Kabila Parliament- in order to invoke any significant change to the state of affairs in DRC.
Just 3 days into Tshisekedi’s presidency, he is faced with the first challenge of his new career. Multiple strikes broke loose across the public sector as unions demanded back pay of wages immediately following the exchange of power. Tshisekedi rose to the occasion, ordering payment of backdated wages to the employees of Transco.
Just as Tshisekedi resolved wage issues at Transco- workers at several different organizations began to demand back wages, and strikes ensued across several different sectors.
Congratulations to the DRC on making peaceful progress towards a more stable, and brighter economic future. If President Tshiskedi is true to his word, then the DRC will overcome some of the economic statistics currently being reported by the World Bank in DRC, and actualize its “potential to become one of the richest countries on the continent.”
Perhaps the DRC should work through this one on their own- just until we in America can get our own criminal investigations finalized.