A PRESIDENT, at least in most of Africa, usually almost single-handedly appoints officials to his government.
If they become corrupt, he can as easily fire them if he wants to.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila has taken a different tack, and instead of firing corrupt public officials as he easily could, instead filed complaints against them for corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing, Radio Okapi reported, citing a presidential adviser.
The complaints were lodged at the chief prosecutor’s office by Luzolo Bambi Lesa, a former justice minister who now advises Kabila on good governance, Kinshasa-based Okapi reported, citing Bambi Lesa. It is not clear whether the complaints had any evidence, which would be the basis for prosecutions.
The broadcaster didn’t provide details on the targets of the complaints. The cases stemmed from reports by whistleblowers, Bambi Lesa told Okapi.
Kabila has, since March, come under pressure and is probably looking to shift the story around his presidency.
Recently he rejected a request by diplomats to scale down the country’s election timetable and asked donors to help fund the entire $1.2 billion process.
However, the request for the $1.2 billion too was couched in strange terms – a government minister first denounced donors, saying their reluctance to fund all the cost of the election was a violation of DRC’s sovereignty. Ordinarily, a country would demonstrate its sovereignty by paying for its own elections, not begging donors for the money to do it.
Kabila is committed to holding votes for local authorities as well as presidential and legislative ballots, Media Minister Lambert Mende said in an e-mailed statement.
Diplomats had asked the 44-year-old leader to focus only on presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for November 2016.
“The government takes issue with the idea that there exists some elections that are more important than others,” according to the statement.
Mende then said donors were imposing new conditions on the vote and violating Congo’s sovereignty.
Congolese opposition leaders have urged the government to postpone local elections until after the presidential and parliamentary vote as well.
Kabila’s opponents are concerned that he will try to extend his second and final term past its mandate, which ends in December 2016.
Third term issue
Congo’s constitution forbids Kabila from running for a third term. He has yet to comment on his plans. The government has invited opposition leaders to participate in a political dialogue to discuss the elections, which are set to begin in October with a provincial assembly vote.
To compound matters, in addition to the rebellions and strife in the eastern part of the country that seem never to end, Kinshasa now has to worry about events at its southern border.
Neighbour Angola on the weekend ordered about 5,000 people to return to the DRC, state-run news agency Angop reported on Monday, citing national police spokesman Aristofanes dos Santos.
The undocumented immigrants were mostly amateur diamond diggers, known as garimpeiros in Portuguese, the language spoken in the southwest African country, Angop said.
Most were in Lunda Norte province, bordering Congo, the agency said.
Angola is the world’s fourth-largest producer of the stones by value, according to the Kimberley Process, a global group trying to stop the trade in conflict diamonds.
Members of the organisation are meeting this week in Luanda, the capital of Angola, which holds the presidency, to determine whether Dubai or Australia will become vice president, Angop reported.
-Reporting by Bloomberg