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The Democratic Process in the DRC.

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par Bobo BONG-E-BONE
Wits University - Licence en science politique 2006

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E. The First Political Transition Period (24 April 1990- 17 May 1997)

Formally, the second Republic, characterized by a totalitarian state, under Mobutu strong political control, ended on 24 April 1990, a year of change (19(*)) with the demise of the single party-state system and the beginning of a political transition to multiparty democratic system, where Congolese people said: `we've suffered a lot, we want things to change'. The Sovereign National Conference opened on 7 August 1991 by Ordinance-Law no 91-205 from 15 July 1991, which took over the control of state while short time. It resumed its work on 6 December 1992.

The Congo's Sovereign National Conference holds the record of all National Conferences organized in Africa early at the beginning of 1990 years (Benin, Congo Brazza-Ville, Mali, Zambia, Gabon, Cameroon, Togo, Ivory-Coast, Tchad, Bourkina-Fasso, Niger...), not only with regard to its duration (16 months) but even in terms of the number of participants (2,842) delegates participated in this historical Congolese forum, which Mobutu Sese Seko refused to apply the political recommendation.

The troubles came over till 1997 when Laurent Désiré Kabila army with others political organization and group like UDPS (Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social) in all country defeat the dictator leader's soldiers in political and military conflict and sent him to stay out the Democratic Republic of the Congo till he dead in Morocco.

The Sovereign National Conference can be consider as a democratic process's father in Congo, there is no another Congolese meeting which can provide good project for building the country as which did the memorable conference. People must ask themselves why Mobutu can't to apply all the Sovereign National Conference political recommendations? Easy to answer because, the Sovereign Conference National fixed only the democratic way that was opposite to dictatorship ruling and stopped the excessive totalitarianism's machine where Mobutu installed.

F. The Second Political Transition Period (17 May 1997 - 2001)

When Congolese people with AFDL army (20(*)) chase away the totalitarian leader Mobutu Sese Seko by force on 17 May 1997, Laurent-Désiré Kabila become the new Congolese president. Immediately after taking office, he renamed the country from Zaire to Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country`s name at the moment of national and international sovereignty in 30 June 1960. He signed a decree which annulled the former transitional political period and gave himself absolute control power of executive, judicial, military and legislative (Décret-loi constitutionnel no 003 du 27 Mai 1997) until the adoption by a future Constituent Assembly of a new constitution. But in practice, nothing was new and also Laurent Désiré Kabila did the same things exactly like his predecessor Mobutu.

Many Congolese scientists admitted that he was just Mobutu's close disciple. Authoritarian and repressive methods did not disappear with Mobutu. Under the said decree, all political parties are banned and since this time, nothing gone well. As a dictator, Kabila refused any negotiation with other opposition political parties like UDPS of Etienne Tshisekedi which was the most in the country. It is possible to bring democracy by starting to banned others political parties and all groups which don't thinking on the same view with the leader?

Laurent Désiré Kabila never been one moment a democrat leader because in a democratic state, nominally belong to all the people in the state. The direction of the state must be the direction decided upon by the collective, a parliament for example. Thus no person or group of people may be said to monopolize power. Every where power cannot be monopolized by a single party or one person because of the institutionalized transfer of power in a democratic state.

Late, relations between Laurent Désiré Kabila and his partner's backers (Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi) deteriorated and in July 1998, he ordered all foreign troops which help him to take over political power to leave the Democratic Republic of the Congo land. The political confusion has continued till his assassination on 16 January 2001 in him own office.

In any democratic state, there is a plurality of political opinions, but in Democratic Republic of the Congo, the formers presidents Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent Désiré Kabila never admitted any form of political opinion contradiction, the acknowledgment of which is integral to democracy. They didn't know that the power is the mediator between these political conflicting opinions, the good method of recognizing the will of the people. If the former president Mobutu was a stupid dictator, Laurent Désiré Kabila was a clever dictator.

* 19 Robin Lee & Lawrence Schlemmer: Transition to Democracy. Policy Perspectives 1991, first page.

* 20 BONG -e- Bone Bobo: `Le sort des actes de la conférence nationale souveraine après l' avénèment de l'

AFDL le 17 Mai 1997'. Travail de fin de cycle présenté pour l' obtention du titre de gradué en droit,

Université de Kinshasa, 1998-1999, p.1.

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