A group of activists from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have written an open letter to Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit currently under way in Lilongwe, pleading with heads of states and government to consider addressing governance concerns threatening stability in their country.
In an open letter to Sadc leaders, the Agir New Congo president Hubert Babu Katulondi said their president Felix Tshisekedi who is attending the summit has employed undemocratic approach which risks degenerating into yet another serious national conflict.
Katulondi said since 2020, Tshisekedi has been wielding power by launching his own coalition called Union Sacrée de la Nation (USN), using the taxpayers’ money to coerce politicians to join his new political venture or lose their positions through dubious mechanisms.
He said: “Since President Tshisekedi conquered total and unrestrained power, he has risen as the omnipotent leader of the USN with a hegemonic control of the entire state institutions, and security apparatus.
“Prospects of credible elections in 2023 have evaporated because the presidency resorts to threats and intimidations, epitomized by violence and profanities unleashed against Catholic and Protestant bishops, to impose one of the president’s tribal associates as the new head of the electoral commission”.
He stated that the political situation has worsened in DRC claiming their president has been systematically and deliberately violating the Constitution to the point where his regime schemed and imposed a new illegitimate parliamentary majority by corrupting members of parliament.
Katulondi explained that due to the development, the DRC’s parliamentary democracy has literally collapsed and that the justice system is being instrumentalised to neutralise political adversaries.
The grouping has since appealed to heads of states to persuade President Tshisekedi to restore the legitimate parliamentary majority that stemmed from the will of the Congolese people in the 2018 elections, in conformance with the Constitution and in compliance with internal rules of the National Assembly and the Senate.
They have also pleaded with Sadc to reason with their president to implement corrective measures to repel divisive tribal partisanship that exclude many Congolese from other provinces and ethnic groups from most state positions, and rebuild national political cohesion.
In seeking truth and reconciliation, the grouping has also pleaded for the release of political prisoners; by engaging with key political leaders and civil society leaders to determine consensual modalities that can ascertain peaceful and credible elections in 2023 without any politically motivated unilateral postponement.
Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (Sapsn) focal point at Malawi Economic Justice Network Mike Banda said governance, peace and security remains a key issue in fostering democracy and development of nations.
During the summit, the Sadc presidents are expected to discuss governance, peace and security issues hence the grouping felt the need to push for remedies to emerging political issues in their country.