Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Joseph Kabila in hot water in S.A

By Gael Masengi

Stand-off between Activists and S.A cops (Photo, GoM)
On Tuesday [October 23th] the South African capital, Pretoria’s diplomatic district was transformed into a scene of clash, shout, screams and “anti-Kabila” chants as Congolese activists stormed the hotel where the meeting between Jacob Zuma and Joseph Kabila was taking place.  

Attending the 8th Session of the South Africa-Democratic Republic of Congo Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria, the ‘Congolese president’ Joseph Kabila had encountered a strongest protest yet from the members of the Congolese community and dissidents residing in Johannesburg and surroundings. By midday the main street leading to the Sefako  Makgatho Guest House [formerly, the presidential guest house] in a discreet suburb of Pretoria was filled by angry protesters who came to “question” the head of state for allegations of his implication with the Rwanda-backed M23 rebellion and confront him for the latest shocking revelation implicating him directly to the murder of a leading human rights activist, Floribert Chebeya of Voice of the Voiceless (VSV, its French initials)and his driver Fidรจle Banzana.

murdered activist, Armand Tungulu
The scene quickly turned into a brief scuffle between the cops and activists when the South African police requested the protesters to back-off as they were blocking the road, before you know it things started to get a little out of hand. Armed with placards, sings and posters bearing the images of rapped and slaughtered women in the eastern DRC, the activists were nowhere to compromise with law enforcers, arguing that Kabila might get away should they leave the place but outnumbered by the men-in-blue who started to flock-in, “anti-Kabila” campaigners eventually were driven out of the street but not before attacking the Congolese embassy, which is located about 100 meters in the surroundings and  get exposure they needed from significant number of media, that includes the South African Broadcasting Corporation television.

“Kabila hosted officially by Zuma?!” exclaimed an activist who asked not to be named, “it’s disappointing if a country like South Africa where at least democracy and human rights exist opting to deal with that man” he said, referring to Kabila’s record on human rights as not being satisfying and very well known by everyone, “We should be given a chance to lead our country ourselves, not by people chosen for us by the international community” said Jean Didier, another activist “to me it seems as a curse, my country [DRC] being blessed with all the mineral resources”   he pointed out that there are things that make Kabila an illegitimate president, namely, last year’s elections results were called by international observers as flawed and not credible.

On the other hand the South African President, Jacob Zuma opened the meeting with congratulations to his Congolese counterpart for hosting a “successful” Francophonie summit, “Your historic hosting of this important summit is a demonstration of trust and confidence in you and your country.” Said Zuma “It is just over a year since our last meeting in Lubumbashi where we took important decisions. One of those decisions was South Africa’s commitment to support the government of the DRC to organise the November 2011 elections. We are happy that those elections were successfully conducted in a peaceful environment…” really? “Successful environment?” clearly Mr Zuma is either ill-informed or lying.

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