Kabila’s Incentive to Leave Power

Posted: August 11, 2018 by mayendengdit in Junub Sudan, Mayen Ayarbior

By David Mayen Dengdit, Denver-Colorado, USA

Congolese President Joseph Kabila visits Angola [No Comment]

Photo: President Joseph Kabila’s last visit to Angola

Saturday, August 11, 2018 (PW) — Introduction: Breaking from the Pack: A true leader is that who is able to break from the pack and chart a new path for his people. He/she leads them out of misery into newer horizons. Congo DRC has been waiting for that leader for much too long. Finally, he has come through and the country will never be the same again.

Few days ago President Joseph Kabila of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) decided to leave power voluntarily through respecting his country’s constitutional term limits. That decision would sound normal for Ghanaians, Nigerians, or even Kenyans and Tanzanians who seem to have acknowledged the value and therefore respected Presidential two terms as a limit for any citizen who becomes privileged to serve his/her country at that capacity.

What makes young Joseph to become and African icon and statesman at the age of 47 is that he has had all the trappings of power at his disposal but, nonetheless, decided to look for even greater incentives to pass the torch to another competent citizen of DRC to continue from where he left.

Some of those trappings of power may include his young age, the manner with which he was chosen by the Congolese military to succeed his slayed father Laurent Kabila who liberated the country from the iron grips of useless Mobutu, and the trend set in countries around DRC.

Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi have recently seen their Presidents change constitutional term limits to remain in power indefinitely. While so many in our region thought that he would follow suit, I personally, among many more, thought he would vacate power honorably to give his country that political stability which naturally comes with regular, voluntary and predictable change of political guards.

Since civil wars in sub-Saharan Africa have always been consequent to power struggles pre or post presidential elections, or even worse, lack of it, DRC was going towards that path and young Joseph decided he would not go along. By breaking from the pack of other aging presidents around his country as-well-as the usual sycophantic parasitic so called Ministers and business interests who are benefiting from his power, Kabila proved that there is hope in Africa.

The Night Kabila Became a Great African Leader:

In the first week of November 2013 South Sudan was invited to attend the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) as a new member of the 19 countries making up this important security organization, twelve of which are from the Great Lakes Region of East, Central and Southern African regions and seven co-opted from other regions. The conference was held in Pretoria (South Africa) and our country’s delegation was led by Vice President Dr. Igga.

The security gathering started with a humorous observation by ex-President Mugabe of Zimbabwe. After all journalists, security personnel, reporters and cameras were asked to leave the hall after the opening statement by host president Zuma, to make room for an open discussion among the heads of state and government, Mugabe made the following observation in reference to the timing of the meeting which was one o’clock in the morning, just past midnight. “Who organized this meeting at this time of the night when witches are active!?” he said, prompting a simultaneous rapture of laughter from all the delegates in the big hall.

However, things quickly and soberly turned into the main two agendas of the summit, the security situations in South Sudan and DRC. The situation in DRC was mainly in reference to the menace in Eastern Congo by rebel M23 of Sultani Makenga and their ability to overrun Goma, the biggest town in that region. The main issue in that regard was the involvement of Rwanda and Uganda in the conflict in terms of the former’s military operations against the Hutu group and the latter’s logistical support for it.

After statements by President Museveni and Rwanda’s Vice President, both of whose countries have now ironically kicked their constitutional term limits to Kabila, the time young Joseph spoke may be memorable to all of us who were inside the hall at that great night (early morning) when a great African star was born.

Briefly. As a rebuttal to Uganda and Rwanda’s claim of genuine reasons to be fighting or supporting M23 rebel group on DRC soil, Kabila explained “The Problem of Congo” since colonialism. He put it down eloquently as that of outside interference and incursions, whether by foreign rebel groups or governments and countries, or by both at the same time like in that case.

He pleaded with Uganda and Rwanda to not only look at their side of security interests in his country but at how that exclusive outlook weakens DRC further and contributes to the problem. He referred to the fact that once in DRC, foreign groups and countries ended up financing their military operations through mineral explorations and, thereby, developed new connections with mercenaries who are connected to international business interests in the west and east. A new cycle of plundering becomes self-perpetuating beyond original strategic interests of intervening entities.

 He provided an alternative which was based on African solidarity to be aimed at helping him as the president of his country to handle the issue of presence of foreign elements. The ultimate solution, he stressed, was in strengthening the Congolese state by consolidating its government territorial control.

The manner of his convincing speech, eloquence, tone of voice, content of argument, and statesmanship were overwhelming that Museveni called for the floor back, reversed his initial position and pledged to pull M23 out of Congo, which he did just two weeks after the summit. Rwanda also promised to help Congo stabilize. The unanimous resolution in regard to that situation was, eventually, to label the M23 a negative force, which ended its existence and presence in Congo.

Conclusion: Salutations to Mzee Kabila.

Kabila’s decision to brake from the unfortunate African norm of sticking to power at all costs and ability to look for incentives beyond his individual thirst for political power should serve as a great example of African leadership. Surely, he is now a prime candidate for the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

His example shows that the leadership curse which is Africa’s biggest problem may be aging with those who are going to leave power one day. Either through natural law or disgracefully like uncle Bob, the curse will be broken sooner rather than later.

Kabila’s main incentive for taking this bold decision to leave the presidency is to awaken the sick heart of Africa (Congo-Kinshasa) and the richest country in the continent to now concentrate on consolidation of state power rather than fighting over individualizing state power. It takes courage, selflessness, vision and patriotism to come to such a decision, hence such leaders are rewarded and respected by the world at large.

As an anecdote, his great wisdom made inconsequential me as a delegate of my country, proud citizen of Africa and registered pan-African, uncharacteristically, go through his watching delegation, slightly bow my head in respect and extend two hands to shake the hand of “Mzee,” a respectful Swahili reference to an elder or, better still, a great leader of his people and country.

One day, I thought and wished, my rich country South Sudan would see such exemplary leadership, once again.


David Mayen Dengdit is a former Vice Presidential Press Secretary and founder of Free Citizens Red Flag League (FCRFL) – a peace, development and human rights advocacy platform. He can be reached at mayen.ayarbior@gmail.com.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.







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