When Abraham Lincoln made the statement “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth“ to honour the soldiers that sacrificed their lives for their country, he effectively set a precedent for the democratic standard and the good governance around the world.
However, one would be excused to ask where exactly the Democratic Republic of Congo belongs in relation to the statement. Not that the Democratic Republic of Congo is too small or poor a country to recognise. No, the large country is hugely blessed with any mineral resource one can think of, which could make a country become one of the richest in the world. Think of a diamond, copper, cobalt, uranium, zinc, copper, germanium, tin etc, virtually all parts of the country are abundantly rewarded with one or more minerals. But having enormous minerals is quite different from being able to manage the highly demanded resources. You need a responsible, dedicated, visionary leader to turn those mineral resources into an economic success. Sadly, since the brutal murder of the charismatic Patrice Lumumba, the Democratic Republic of Congo is yet to experience a grandiose leader, who could embark on a meaningful economic journey aimed at putting the country in its rightful place in the world.
It has been the same old story. Starting from President Joseph Kasavubu, then Mobutu Sese Seko, who was not only implicated in the brutal murder of Lumumba, aided by greedy foreign imperialists, to Laurent-Dé siré Kabila, who overthrew Mobutu with the help of troops from Uganda and Rwanda, and now to President Joseph Kabila Jnr, the leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo have ingloriously disappointed the Congolese people, whose high expectations have been massively shattered. In most cases, the personal interests of the leaders, their backers and foreign pseudo-colonialists come first before the interests of the desperate citizens who have incredibly sacrificed and harvested heavily in the democratic dividend of the country. Apart from the former colonial Master, Belgium, which left a very gruesome impact in the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, all the foreign powers are only after one thing in the country: the huge minerals of the country. The welfare of an average citizen comes last. Unfortunately, the leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo seem to be so short -sighted to see that their country is abundantly blessed; they only need to put the interests of their country first and make the right decisions, rather than fighting each other and being puppets of the foreign powers, who are only interested in personal gains against the total annihilation of the country. The Democratic Republic of Congo is not the only country that is sitting on top of the huge amount of natural resources. Botswana is a success story. It is the only country in Africa with a huge amount of diamond and other mineral resources, which successfully managed these resources effectively and avoided any social conflicts. Again, to achieve this managerial task, you need a visionary leader. This is what the Democratic Republic of Congo cannot boast of.
After 15 years in office, President Joseph Kabila is yet to convince many of any tangible economic achievement credited to him. With his term limits ending in November, President Joseph Kabila is constitutionally forbidden from seeking another term. That means that the country will be democratically electing a successor to President Kabila; but from the look of things, the President seems not willing to leave the office, despite huge pressures from the United Nations, USA, EU, UK etc. Clearly, President Kabila is killing time, avoiding to organise elections and recently postponing the elections. The question any right thinking person would ask is: Are 15 years too short for a committed leader to show some degree of achievements in a country? Go to the neighbouring country, Rwanda and see for yourself what President Paul Kagame has done within a short time? Does that explain why many Rwandese are vehemently reluctant to replace such a quixotic leader? The like of President Obama is so happy to leave the political stage after just 8 years, yet President Kabila is doing all within his power to stay in the office, even though it is clear to him that the people he claims to represent are totally against his prolonged stay.
When the people you claim to represent are against your rule and speak equivocally that they do not want you anymore, who are you going to rule? Would your stay in power not amount to imposing your will on your people? Then the phrase: “The government of the people, by the people, for the people“ becomes useless. This is a typical case in the Democratic Republic of Congo. President Joseph Kabila wants to hang on to power against the will of his subjects. The Congolese people are angrily demonstrating against his attempt to impose his will and rule on them. Despite that the protests, which have claimed more than 44 lives already have become deadly serious, it seems the innocent Congolese people who have been deceived, disenfranchised and disheartened all these years have had enough. It is either President Kabila respects the constitution and the Congolese people and leave the political stage, and set an honourable legacy as the only President of the DRC to have willingly honoured the constitution and quit after his terms; or he ignores the will of his subjects and the international community by prolonging his stay after the expiration of his terms. Either way, there are choices to make. Traditionally, no DRC President gives up power peacefully, logically, why would President Joseph Kabila? Unlike before, the oppositions have never been so united as today; it seems they are stubbornly determined to have their will, which is to force President Kabila to leave the office after his term.
The country had descended into anarchy before; it is about ripping itself apart now. If President Joseph Kabila Kabange truly believes the interests of the Congolese people comes first to him, he needs to make the right decision ““ and very quickly indeed.