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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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G. The Third Political Transition from January 2001

The assassination of Laurent Désiré Kabila opened the third precarious political transition period since 2001 which the process still going like a pseudo democratic system for the future.

The specific origins of the Congo War, according to `Economic Dimensions of War and Peace' (21(*)) can be traced to President Laurent Désiré Kabila's desire to become more independent from his Rwandan, Ugandan, Burundian, in some from all foreigners sponsors, as well as domestic discontent with the extent and pace of the government's political and economic reforms.

Then, Joseph Kabila took over political power with strong International Community support. He didn't follow Laurent Désiré Kabila way. He accept the Inter Congolese Dialogue, hosted by the Republic of South Africa, which is offering the world a surprising, a new model of political transition and conflict resolution peacefully, what few people never believe before the transition started. If only twelve years it is not enough to make a definitive assessment of the behavior's apartheid, but I can say that the new Republic of South Africa post-apartheid is promoting a new society and multi-racial democracy, managed by its own people, after three and half centuries of racial segregation and apartheid, it has begun slowly and surely to produce a true democratic lesson of its kind in the continent.

The Congolese Dialogue took place at Sun City in Republic of South Africa in 2002 and brought together five components: the Kinshasa government, the main rebel's movements (Mouvement pour la Libération du Congo MLC from Jean-Pierre Bemba and Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie RCD), the non-armed political opposition and civil society. That is mean all major belligerent parties involved in the Democratic Republic of the Congo conflict reconvened in Pretoria, where under Thabo Mbeki's pressure they finally signed the global and all inclusive agreement on the political transition to stable, peaceful and democratic state.

The core political provision of the agreement provides that political, military, social and economic power shall be shared by the all former belligerents, civil society and the political opposition during two years transition period, with two possible extension six months.

According to this agreement, Joseph Kabila would remain head of state, he would be assisted by four vice-presidents, and this is a first time in the world, each responsible for one of the four main commissions: the first one is the Economic and Finance commission managed by MLC (Mouvement pour la Libération du Congo) of Jean-Pierre Bemba, the second one is the Politics, Defence and Security commission managed by RCD-Goma (Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie-Goma) of Azarias Ruberwa, the third one is the Development and Reconstruction commission managed by Kabila political group and the fourth one is the Social and Cultural commission managed by the non-armed political opposition leader Arthur Zahidi Ngoma, which was not been qualified to represented the formal political opposition.

The signatories agreed on the establishment of a transitional parliament, which would consist of a national assembly and a senate. Civil society would head the five independent institutions in support of democracy, including the independent electoral commission which in fact it is not independent because it supporting Kabila's propaganda. The other four Commissions are the national human rights observation, the high authority for the media, the truth and reconciliation commission like which took place in South Africa post-apartheid during Mandela's mandate. But in Democratic Republic of the Congo, this commission did not have the `full disclosure' as sine qua none principle for building a true democratic system and true reconciliation and the last one is the commission for ethics and fight against corruption.

To make a short evaluation about this transitional period from 1990, I am saying those sixteen years after introducing a democratic process in the country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the African nations which is clearly unable to provide a true and strong model of political transition to stable democratic system. The transitional democratic process remains fragile and plagued by corruption, difficulties in disbanding foreign forces and militas, especially in the Kivu and Oriental provinces, the continuous flow of weapons and the illegal exploitation of natural resources in Congolese territory. According to the United Nations panel of experts final report on the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the DRC which identifies the individuals and many organizations allegedly involved in such illicit activities (22(*)), the big surprise is that the officials Congo's government and some Kabila's close friends are concerned by this report. How we can think about democracy by giving others facilities to destroy the country?

In my view, the pillars of democracy are the sovereignty of the people, the best guarantee of basic human rights, a social economic and political pluralism, the minority rights, the equality before the law, free and fair elections, the due process of law and constitutional limits of government, the values of tolerance and even the government based upon consent of the governed and the majority rule.

In any modern democratic system, the powers of the government are, by law, clearly defined and sharply limited. If there is `democracy' in Democratic Republic of the Congo, maybe just in the name of the country but in fact, the current democratic process don't present or meet most of the democratic pillars which must been in the democratic state formation. Many Congolese scientists admit that the country took the wrong way for building democracy.

* 21 Michael Nest, with Francois Grignon and Emizet F. Kisangani: The Democratic Republic of Congo.

Economic Dimensions of War and Peace. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2006, p.31.

* 22 Report of the United Nations concerning illegal exploitation in DRC, November 2001.

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