Mon, Sep 4, 2017.
- Joseph Kabila has proven that he will not leave power any time soon but his country is marred by political and economic crisis and there is widespread civil unrest in the country.
Joseph Kabila, the current president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a man simply consumed by a penchant to cling on to power. The events of last year showed us that Kabila does not harbour an iota of the intention to leave power.
This is what has been widely-phrased as the “sit-tight syndrome” that characterizes the regimes of many African nations. It is an undesirable phenomenon, but it is what Africans have learned to live with, something forcefully instilled in them. It also culminates in the “pull-him-down syndrome” which is marked by futile attempts to dismantle oppressive regimes. The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo reveals a nation plunged under great political crisis, a seemingly irretrievable one.
Kabila’s second and final term as the president of the DRC came to an end last year. It came to an end, yes, but he remained in power. He did all he could to remain in power. He survived all the attempts devised against him by the opposition parties and the Catholic Church but he remained in power. This created a political crisis, and the economy of the country continued sinking, seeming as it is a ship with no sailor. Widespread protests intensified, an the country was teetering, and still is, on the brink of catastrophe. Simply because one man refused to willingly and openly relinquish power.
The history of the DRC is one that is heavily influenced by oppressive leaders. And Joseph Kabila has now exclusively joined the league of these former presidents who presided over dictatorships that were oppressive, ruthless and grossly corrupt. Some have begun liking Joseph Kabila with Mobutu Sese Seko. He (Kabila) has used state-instigated violence to clamp down on activists and journalists. Meanwhile, localised violence continues to wreak havoc in the northeast of the country.
When his father Laurent Kabila was assassinated, he seemed to be a better ruler. He collaborated with the United States and the United Nations in restoring peace and stability to the DRC. He reached out to other Western countries to garner support and he received overwhelming support. But ever since he has been using unorthodox methods to tilt the election results in his favour and his desire to cling on to power has not differentiated him from the other bad rulers that DRC has had. He had the capability of being the DRC’s best president, but his insatiable desire to cling on to power has discredited him a lot.
The economy of DRC has continued with its unabated nosedive. High taxes, harassment by the revenue authorities, lack of a stable exchange rate, cheap imports from neighbouring countries and lower demand have done extensive damage to the country’s economy. The inflation rate which is hovering around 50% has made the DRC Franc the world’s worst performing currency. It is a dire situation. Corruption levels seem to be far from being over. In fact, they seem to be embedded in eternity for DRC.
With Kabila being at the helm of such political and economic mess, it is reasonable enough for him to leave and give others a chance. But he simply will not just do that. Kabila is doing more harm to the country, and is taking the country on a retrogressive path, one where progress is a remote possibility. The way this change can happen is through elections. However, that concept of democracy is ostensibly alien to Joseph Kabila. He is now no longer different from his predecessors who include Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent Desire Kabila. Joseph has continued the legacy of corruption. He and his family have built a vast business empire on the back of his political power.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is a country that needs political redemption for the sake of its progress and development. The DRC has always been ruled by leaders who are not afraid to put their interests above those of everyone else.