By Chris Zumani Zimba
In the much anticipated presidential and general elections in DR Congo on 23rd December, 2018 President Jospeh Kabila is not contesting as he is barred by law. However, he is aggressively campaigning to support his personal choice successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary who is running on the ruling party ticket. And to ensure that his candidate wins, Kabila is constantly vomiting heavy political brutality and oppression through the police and other state agencies on all rivals such that, the environment is not close to being free, fair and credible for the opposition to contest, campaign and win.
On 12th December, 2018, two (2) people were killed and more than 40 injured after police attacked opposition supporters at a rally in the Democratic Republic of Congo second-largest city of Lubumbashi while fifteen (15) supporters of main opposition presidential candidate, Martin Fayulu had bullet wounds, BBC reported. But as usual, the police deny anyone was killed but say two people were injured.
“We have seen that the authorities have recruited young people, and sent them to provoke scuffles with opposition supporters, in order to then justify the forceful intervention of the police, and to paralyse the activities planned by Martin Fayulu. We condemn it,” Georges Kapiamba, from the The Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ), said. Mr Fayulu called off another rally in Kindu in eastern DR Congo after clashes broke out between his supporters and those of the governing coalition candidate, BBC reports.
Opposition coalition Lamuka, which is backing Mr Fayulu, said the police crackdowns “show clearly that President Kabila and his team realise that… they are going to lose the elections”. Mr Fayulu is a well-known businessman who worked for US oil giant Exxon Mobil for two decades, taking up positions in several African countries from 1984 to 2003. Mr Fayulu, 62, was chosen as the main candidate for the opposition coalition in Switzerland last month to face Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the ruling party candidate and a loyalist of outgoing President Kabila while Felix Tshisekedi, another opposition leader who is believed to have been ‘bought’ by the ruling to shun the opposition coalition is also running.
For the past three (3) years, hundreds of political activists and protestors who criticized and opposed President Kabila have been killed by the state police while thousands have been arrested, wounded, tortured and publicly humiliated. The campaigns to this national vote has seen bloodshed and death while the opposition are competing under serious insecurity and threats. Recently, the Kabila government can be said to be at its best or worst in terms of police brutality, injustice, political persecution and gross human rights violations. President Joseph Kabila is set to step down after 17 years in power. His mandate ended in 2016 but he defied internal and external pressure to leave office.
Chris Zumani Zimba is a prolific Political Scientist, Analyst, Author, Blogger, PhD Scholar, Researcher and Consultant. Besides being the CEO and Managing Consultant at Chrizzima Democracy University (CDU) in Zambia, he analyses African politics weekly on Voice of the Cape Town, South Africa every Wednesday at 16:45hours CAT. So far, he has authored more than 10 political and academic books as well as published over 100 well researched articles.