Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bloody donnybrook for Opposition Spokesperson job: Kamerhe and MP Badibanga with naked swords

While Jean-Bosco Ntaganda and his bandits are stalemating the FARDC
from "only two hills" (to use the strange phrase of Prime Minister
Augustin Matata, as if those two hills were not part of the DRC
territory), a bloody donnybrook has broken out in the People's
Republic of Kinshasa.

With naked swords, mind you!

This side of the Republic, however, the casus belli isn't over coltan
and other blood minerals; it's all about the lucrative job of
Opposition Spokesperson.

Forgetten, the much-touted "sacred union" of the Opposition against
the corrupt and Rwanda-abetting regime that has to be brought down at
all costs.

All of a sudden, venal politicos are stampeding and backstabbing one
another for the job of Opposition Spokesperson.

Who'd blame them? But let's back up a bit...

Article 8 of the Constitution clearly states that "the rights linked
to [the Opposition's] existence, its activities and its fight for the
democratic conquest of power are sacred."

The same article then goes on to state that an "organic law determines
the status of political opposition."

And just as mandated by that article of the Constitution, one such
"organic law" (Law N° 07/008) was passed on December 4, 2007, by the
National Assembly to formalize the status of the Opposition.

That law also creates the job of Opposition Spokesperson, who could
either be chosen by consensus or through a vote by members of the
opposition of both houses meeting in congress. Candidates vying for
that position could be either from the "parliamentary" or
"extraparliamentary" Opposition.

You have to read Article 21 of that law to understand the current
no-hold-barred fratricidal scrum for that job among Opposition pols:

"The Spokesperson of the Opposition has the rank of State Minister at
the national level and of Provincial Minister at the provincial level.
He/She enjoys the advantages and the immunities related to [these

Oh boy! That's massive perks we're talking about here. Big wonga. And
impunity to do and say anything that crosses your mind. Impunity to
steal from state coffers. Same sin opposition politicos are now
bemoaning in their peers in government.

Monies and noise! That's a good definition of politics in the country
called Kinshasa.

Those at each other's throats now are former presidential candidate
Vital Kamerhe and UDPS MP Sammy Badibanga.

Both candidates have their hosts of problems though.

Kamerhe just can't shake the perception that he's Kabila's mole within
the opposition. The more he vilifies Kabila, the less credible he

His position is further complicated by the campaign being waged
against him by International Criminal Court inmate Jean-Pierre Bemba
from his jail cell at the Scheveningen Prison Complex.

I don't see how Equateur Bangala MLC MPs, even without Bemba's
directive, could vote for a swahili speaker to be in yet another
position of political prominence.

Nevertheless, Kamerhe keeps deluding himself that as the erstwhile
Speaker, he might still have buddies left in the National Assembly.

Badibanga's pounding headache is that he and other UDPS MPs in the
National Assembly are considered by their party's leadership and rank
and file as traitors to self-proclaimed president Etienne Tshisekedi.

Just the other day, queried on this subject by Radio France
Internationale (RFI), Jacquemain Shabani, Secretary General of UDPS--I
mean, the genuine, really real Tshisekedi's UDPS--responded with his
usual contempt for the traitors:

"These guys can do what they want to do... That group has nothing to
do with our party. They've chosen a path. They're free. We wish them
good luck!"

And luck is what Badibanga would need to pull this trick from his hat.

On top of the fatwa from genuine UDPS, the 42 UDPS MPs in the National
Assembly have split in two groups: 1) one is called UDPS/Tshisekedi;
2) and the other, to which belongs Badibanga, is called UDPS/FAC or
"Forces Acquises au Changement" [forces keen on change]!

Apart from these two highfliers, there are other small fries vying for
that position too. For you never know: luck might strike you unawares.
There's an expression in Kinshasa for that kind of fool's errand: to
throw a stone in the dark... in the hope it'd hit something.

And word is some big surprise might be in the offing. Like the big
upset Léon Kengo wa Dondo pulled in 2007 to become Senate President
against all odds.

In the meanwhile, Kinois in the streets aren't the least bit
interested by all these shenanigans. They know it ain't no Nollywood
soap opera, but the grim chronicle of their lives being stolen by
highway robbers!

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