On the front page of Congolese newspapers: National consultations, Félix Tshisekedi plays his all-out!

Since Monday, the same exercise has continued at the Palais de la Nation. After the representative leaders and the living forces of the country, on Tuesday November 3, 2020, the representatives of the associative movements were received, in turn, by the President of the Republic, Félix Tshisekedi, as part of the consultations that he has initiated to resolve the current political crisis, with the best interests of the Nation as the watchword.

According to La Prospérité, among the movements whose representatives spoke with the Head of State, Civil Society Associations, the National Union of the Congo Press (UNPC), a delegation from the National Union of Physicians (Synamed) , the Syndicate of Doctors of the DRC (Symeco), the Order of Lawyers, the Autonomous Syndicate of Magistrates (Synamag), but also the Order of Physicians.

All of them participated and contributed very actively to these discussions which, no doubt, should lead to conclusive results for the benefit of the greatest number.

For civil society, for example, any political unrest caused mainly by the tensions within the ruling coalition, have a negative impact on the daily lives of the population, whose situation is still not improving.

To the President of the Republic, the civil society associations explained the feelings of the Congolese people who no longer feel validly represented at the level of decision-making bodies. A petition that collected nearly 100,000 signatures was given to Félix Tshisekedi.

As for the CENI, they suggest reforms before any appointment, in order to avoid the mistakes of the past. "The same causes produce the same effects", they say.

Flowing in the same vein, Le Potentiel increases in its working methodology, the President of the Republic did not want to start with political actors. Tshisekedi chose to open the ball with social forces and civil society, specifically, representatives of religious denominations as well as institutions supporting democracy. This shows all the interest that the Head of State gives to the "grassroots" and his concern to directly capture the message of those who live with the poverty of the population on a daily basis and share their deepest aspirations. . 

In total, 21 institutions and personalities were scheduled for this first day. For obvious reasons, it was the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) that opened the series of consultations at 11:30 am. Corneille Nangaa and his colleagues from the electoral administration office had 1 hour of discussions with the Head of State. After them, the National Council for monitoring the New Year's Eve Agreement (CNSA), the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH), the Superior Council of Audiovisual and Communication (CSAC), the Economic and Social Council (CES) and the Integrity and Mediation Commission (CIME) as well as Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo (Archbishop Emeritus of Kinshasa) were also received. As he announced in his message on October 23, following these interviews, the President of the Republic will be making major decisions in the name of the best interests of the population. In this message of October 23, the head of state indicated that this series of interviews with the most representative political and social forces should lead to a "sacred union" for the nation. 

These consultations, he continued, are aimed at "refounding government action around the principles of participation in the management of the country". In the process, the impressions that emerge from the first consulted indicate that there is hope. This can already be noted from the interview between the head of state and the former archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya. The Catholic prelate says he gave the head of state a memorandum in which he proposed that everything be focused on the economy. “We met the president who began to raise the problems that you know, the problems of the consultation… We had a memo, which we presented to him, in which we say that the country needs the economy, l 'economy for development so that the people can have enough to eat,' he told reporters. In the process, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo praised the willingness of Félix Tshisekedi to convene these consultations with the aim of developing the country. "We congratulate him for the initiative he has taken and thanks to this initiative he will come to have a series of answers that he can later study with people and that he begins to foster dialogue through the intervention of certain resource persons who can help him navigate on both sides of the canoe. Like this, there is a chance that the work will advance in his dialogue ”, concluded Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo. Like the cardinal, the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC) also submitted its memo to the head of state, with the only difference that it reserved the right to reveal its contents. 

 For its part, the National Council for Monitoring the New Year's Eve Agreement and the Electoral Process (CNSA), through its president, Joseph Olenghankoy, declared that it would have liked to be consulted before by the head of the 'State, about what is being said around President Tshisekedi and his predecessor Joseph Kabila. "We would have liked, if we had been consulted beforehand, that he would manage to exchange views with his predecessor Joseph Kabila Kabange. Why ? For the simple reason that this political system, the Head of State himself recognized during his speech before the two Houses of Parliament meeting in Congress, that we are in a learning process of democracy, and that it is the first time that we have this system in our country, ”he said. In politics, dialogue must be permanent, continues Olenghankoy, who wants the two personalities at the head of the government coalition to discuss in pairs without the presence of extremists from their respective camps. Coming out of the CENI office meeting with the head of state, Corneille Nangaa responded to a press question on the elections in the event of the dissolution of the National Assembly. He indicated that only the new office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) is authorized to organize these elections. "The mission of the CENI is set out in article 211 of the Constitution, that is to say to lead any electoral and referendum process. In the absence of an institution or an elective institution, it will be up to the CENI to organize the elections. All the same, today the question that may arise: Is the Nangaa team still legitimate to organize these elections? We must as quickly as possible designate the new members of the CENI who will study and decline the figures, for example, saying that it would cost as much, ”said Corneille Nangaa.

 Consulted, the Economic and Social Council (CES) made its plea for the preservation of peace. For Léon Kyaboba, spokesperson for CES, three essential points were addressed during this exchange. He expressed himself in these terms: "The Economic and Social Council, consulted like the other vital forces of the nation, had to say to the President of the Republic: given the context of the moment, we must preserve the peace and security of the nation. country; we must respect the constitution and we must not destabilize the institutions ”. For the Integrity and Electoral Mediation Commission (CIME), represented by its president, Imam Moussa Rachidi, the initiative of the Head of State is commendable. “The CIME is aware of the difficulties facing the country. She hopes that these consultations will yield results that can bring our country out of the turbulent zone ... This is our country, we must insist that there is unity and stability in the country. There are several solutions to get out of this crisis and this is what we mentioned in our specifications, ”said Imam Moussa Rachidi. 

In the same vein, the web journal lessentielrdc.info writes National Consultations, Jonas Tshiombela, Patient Bashombe and Christopher Ngoy propose the dissolution of Parliament. According to my colleague, civil society recommended to the President of the Republic to dissolve Parliament, following talks between the Head of State Felix Tshisekedi with a delegation made up of MM. Jonas Tshiombela, Patient Bashombe and Christopher Ngoy, respectively coordinator of New Civil Society, President of the Civil Society Consultation Framework and Civil Society Coordinator of Congo within the framework of the presidential consultations.

"Our opinion is that the unease is experienced by the entire population because at the perch where it is, there is unease. These are the levers that activate all the segments of society that are suffering there. And this suffering has repercussions on the social, not just the political. And today, we explained to the President that the population, the primary sovereign, no longer feels represented by his representatives who are in the institutions and that we must think very seriously about being able to restructure and / or reconfigure the National Assembly. . We are talking about the dissolution of Parliament which is more than inevitable. We handed him the civil society petition, which has now registered more than 96,000 signatures, ”said Christopher Ngoy, civil society coordinator in Congo. This delegation also proposed that the reforms come before the appointment of the actors of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI). "We reflected with the President on the question of the organization of future elections, and at this level, with regard to the CENI, the question was to know whether we first appoint the leaders of the CENI , before the reform, or is it the reform that comes before? Civil society, we are categorical, reform must precede the appointment of actors. For the money, it is the people who contribute, so there will always be, "said Patient Bashombe, chairman of the civil society consultation framework. 

And Forum des As to ask, "What will the 2018 elections have been used for?" Contrary to what was the atmosphere of the first day, writes my colleague, where the contacts of the Head of State with his guests were broadcast live on the Congolese national radio-television (RTNC), the exchanges yesterday were somewhat bearing the seal of a “closed door”.

 No image has been broadcast directly on RTNC, for reasons unknown to many viewers, glued to their small screens in the desperate hope of following what is happening at the Palais de la Nation. What should the Congolese expect from this initiative by Felix Tshisekedi? A priori, a lot of things against a background of reconfiguration of the political class. In particular, a new majority in the National Assembly. This should therefore lead to the breaking of the agreement of the FCC-CACH coalition in power since January 24, 2019. When Félix Tshisekedi takes this kind of initiative, some think that he already knows in advance, the conclusions to which these will have to lead. As who would say, anyone who asks a question already has part of the answer. On the strength of this principle, many analysts consider these consultations to be a mere formality, the aim of which is to legitimize what Félix Tshisekedi has already decided himself. The choice of guests sometimes saying a lot as an official statement. Should we consider this point of view as begging the question? Is this also an easy and amplifying induction? It doesn't matter. However, an essential question torments the minds. The issue is whether the approach of President Félix Tshisekedi respects the institutional framework resulting from the 2018 elections which cost several hundred million dollars to the public treasury. Sums that could usefully be allocated to sectors of national life deemed to be priorities, such as health and education. Beyond the effervescence, better still the political turmoil observed around these consultations, particularly in the camp of Félix Tshisekedi's supporters, another fundamental question arises, in relation to the Constitution.

 The question is whether these contacts constitute for the Congolese Head of State, a royal way out of the crisis, what the Constitution of February 18 specifically provides, in the event of a major crisis paralyzing the proper functioning of the institutions? after only two years, we have to go back to the institutional framework, so we wonder what the December 2018 election was used for. What do we want concretely? Without taking one side or the other, for many analysts say they feel justified, to push the reflection further, even beyond a visibly divided national opinion. “When there is a problem in the institutions, should we organize this great ballet which unmasks many opportunists, in order to undo the entire existing institutional framework? To this day, the political camp of former Congolese President Joseph Kabila is presented as the embodiment of all the misfortunes that befall the country. Drawing on Bantu thought, the FCC is considered by its opponents of yesterday and today, as this old sorcerer, author of all the deaths of the clan and which must be liquidated at all costs by a torture of the collar or popular justice. To consult for a new parliamentary majority, the current initiative of President Felix Tshisekedi seems inevitable. The train having already left the station, all the passengers have to do is hold on. Without being prophets of doom, many analysts also wonder what would happen in the event of a new crisis after the post-consultation institutional framework.

 Should we organize new rounds of contacts to pretend to break the deadlock? If the solution to the current political crisis is in terms of institutions, why think about creating others of the same kind, when they already exist? Should the conflict be resolved within or outside the institutional framework? From what has been done since last Monday at the Palais de la Nation, everything suggests that the ultimate objective is to ignore the structures and institutions policies resulting from the 2018 elections. So, what will happen in the event that the much anticipated news leads to a much more serious crisis than the one that led to the organization of the current consultations? Certainly, the end justifies the means, postulates a saying attributed to the famous Italian thinker, Nicolas Machiavelli. However, it remains to be wondered whether really all means are good to achieve a goal. 

A selection from the editorial staff      

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