By Ajong Mbapndah L
Despite the deluge of negative news about the D.R.Congo, there are so many positive developments that give a reason for hope, says Zihindula Mulegwa former Spokesperson for President Kabila.
Mulegwa, an Attorney who runs the Center for Political and Strategic Center in Kinshasa, said in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution of the D.R.Congo, there is no power vacuum as President Kabila remains in power until fresh elections take place.
Interviewed in Washington, DC, Mulegwa said under the current leadership of President Kabila, the country was making great progress towards the goal of free, fair and credible elections. About 42 million people have already registered to vote in the elections and another 3 million voters are on course to be registered before the year runs out, Mulegwa said.
While there was no certainty yet as to the date of elections, Mulegwa faulted critics who think President Kabila is doing all he can to remain in power. President Kabila is not interested in holding on to power for ever, and his fate is determined by the constitution of the D.R.Congo, Mulegwa said.
Citing recent assessments from international experts who say it will take over 500 days after the registration is completed for the electoral process to come to term, Mulegwa said President Kabila should be supported in his efforts to give Congolese a voice and say in the future of the country. If it was elections for the sake of elections, we can do that tomorrow, but there will not be free and fair, Mulegwa said. If the elections are not credible, the D.R.Congo will remain bedeviled in yet another spiral of crisis.
Going further in his defense of President Kabila, Mulegwa said, the electoral process was not slowed by him but rather war and rivals with unbridled ambitions who took cases to different countries. Countries of the region envy the D.R.Congo for its human rights, and freedoms, he said. Mulegwa said the country has over 600 political parties through which people freely express their thoughts and ideas. The government can however not remain indifferent when political leaders indulge in the destruction of public property or fail to respect the rights of other people just to provoke reactions which will be used to paint the current leadership black.
On the legacy of Kabila after some 16 years in power and counting, Mulegwa lamented the fact that the President has not gotten deserved credit for his efforts in unifying the country. Prior to taking power, the D.R.Congo was in shambles with pockets of rebellion everywhere. Thanks to his reunifying efforts, about 99% of the country is under control,Mulegwa said.
Kabila has also worked hard in helping to reconcile the people of the D.R.Congo. According to Mulegwa, President Kabila understood that a major cause of the crisis in the D.R.Congo was that people did not know how to access power. By creating an inclusive political system, Kabila gave the Congolese people to opportunity to freely express them and manifest political ambitions without resort to arms,Mulegwa went on.
Prior to taking office, Congo was literally in tatters infrastructure wise and President Kabila was saddled with the heavy task of rebuilding, Mulegwa said. Today the country has made tremendous progress in in infrastructure development and the rebuilding of broken ones. The city of Kinshasa is truly transformed and thousands of kilometers of roads have been built, Mulegwa said . While his detractors and critics may refuse to give him credit for anything, history will someday recognize the great work done by President Kabila in reunify, reconciling, and rebuilding the broken country that he inherited, Mulegwa said.
Quizzed on the absence of leading opposition figure Moise Katumbi from the country in fear of persecution from the government of President Kabila, Mulegwa rubbished the claims. Moise Katumbi is a fugitive running away from the law, said Mulegwa . While Katumbi may be rich, he does not have what it takes to lead a complex country like the D.R.Congo, Mulegwa cautioned.
Interviewed against the backdrop of a story from Fox News a Congolese bank helping a Hezbollah linked company to avoid US sanctions, Mulegwa said the story may be part of the smear campaign against the Kabila led government in the D.R.Congo. The bank in question is doing its own investigations following the eye catching headlines but there is no Hezbollah in the D.R.Congo, he said.
Mulegwa called on the International Community to encourage and support President Kabila in his ongoing effort deliver on the promise of free and fair elections in the D.R.Congo, he said .Using the example of the political crisis in Kenya today, Mulegwa said it is better to invest time and resources to get it right, than to be in a rush conduct elections which will end creating more problems than solutions in the country.