Kinshasa, 24 January 2021
Open Letter from Tournons La Page - Coalition of the DR Congo addressed to His Excellency the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Félix Antoine TSHISEKEDI TSHILOMBO in KINSHASA-GOMBE (with the expression of our most respectful tributes)
"January 24, 2019 - January 24, 2021 : Two years later, the "People First" is still waiting...in the meantime time does not stand still".
Your Excellency the President of the Republic,
Two years to the day, after your accession to the Supreme Magistracy of our country, it seemed more than opportune to address you not only to wish you a very happy birthday, but also and above all to express aloud and in all honesty what is dear to our hearts and through us, this great silent majority of the Congolese people who do not know how to reach you very easily.
Thursday, January 24, 2019, a memorable day in the annals of our country because it marked the very first political alternation at the top of the State, is still present in the memories of more than one Congolese. This historic day as well as your accession to power have raised great hopes in the mind of Congolese citizens. Jubilant crowds never ceased to remind you in chorus singing "Félix, obosana te, Papa alobaki: the people first". And yes, the people first, this slogan which sums up in itself the political struggle of your late father of happy memory, Dr Etienne TSHISEKEDI WA MULUMBA. And the hopes founded to see the social situation of the smallest of all Congolese improve were just as immense.
Your advent raised great hopes also among us, your comrades in arms of a short while ago, that the time for the establishment of a true rule of law had finally arrived. Yes, this Rule of Law which should be characterised by: respect for human rights, the independence of the judiciary, strict respect for the laws of the Republic with the Constitution at its head; strict respect for individual and collective freedoms; observance of all democratic rules as well as the establishment of a nationalised distributive justice system benefiting the entire Congolese people.
Your Excellency, the President of the Republic,
Two years later, we should stop for a while and take stock of the situation. And yes, almost halfway through your five-year term, this short and quick assessment is necessary.
Allow us, Your Excellency, Mr. President of the Republic, to review some of your priorities for your five-year term at the head of our country.
- The pacification of the entire national territory by accelerating the fight against the eradication of the armed groups that rage and sow desolation among our populations:
Objectively verifiable indicators for this great challenge are hard to find. The populations of Beni and the whole of the East of the country continue to be massacred like flies and the activism of armed groups is picking up steam and is becoming increasingly worrying in several provinces and corners of the Republic.
The situation on the ground for the military and other security agents called upon to materialise your wish is still not improving. The accompaniment and care of our valiant soldiers deployed on the various fronts at the cost of their lives continues to pose enormous problems.
They continue to die in the armed forces, without the nation returning to them what they deserve. The disgusting images of the burial of the young military pilots who died in a helicopter crash did not honour the Republic, and you as Supreme Commander should under no circumstances be proud of this.
And at the same time, the populations of the East in general and those of the BENI region in particular, continue to await the fulfilment of your various campaign promises, notably the installation of your General Staff in this corner of the Republic. Similarly, the population of Goma is waiting for you to settle in their Province as you promised at the beginning of last October.
- The fight against poverty through social actions and an innovative national cohesion policy:
Your Excellency, Mr. President of the Republic, what can be said about this courageous ambition, if not to note that it also struggles to be lived by the smallest of Congolese children.
Poverty, or better, misery, remains the main characteristic of the majority of the Congolese people. In spite of all the wealth and potential generously provided by the good Lord to our country, the Congolese continue to be counted among the poorest of humanity.
As the second largest country in the world in terms of arable land, with almost 80 million hectares of arable land and a capacity to feed about 2 billion people in the world, the Congolese continue to die of hunger and Congolese children of malnutrition.
The social gap between a small minority of the extremely wealthy Congolese, mainly political leaders, and the vast majority of the Congolese living below the poverty line continues to widen also under your mandate. The various battles fought over the budget overruns of various public institutions, including the Presidency of the Republic, scandalise many people and increase the gap between leaders and those they lead from one day to the next. The latter having only one question: "Who will finally save us, if those who swear by and for the people, sink into the same mistakes they have always blamed others? ».
- The effective and determined fight against corruption and anti-values including impunity, bad governance, tribalism and others:
Your Excellency, Mr President of the Republic, this vast and ambitious project really deserves to be encouraged and supported. These tares are the soft bellies of our country; they effectively destroy and infect at the highest level the whole of our society. Your fight in this sector is therefore to be supported.
But, still, apart from some cases brought to justice, much remains to be done to really put an end to impunity in our country.
It also seems appropriate to bring to your attention that financial embezzlement and other misappropriation of public funds is not only at the national level. Extremely serious things are happening in our provinces where provincial leaders are behaving like real "emperors", quietly embezzling millions and billions of US dollars, systematically plundering state property and assets. It is even feared that future generations will inherit nothing as state property and patrimony. These provincial governments boast in their chests and tell anyone who will listen that they enjoy the blessing of the President of the Republic with whom they are in very good spirits.
It seems to us more than urgent that Your Excellency should take a look at this and save the provinces from abuses and mismanagement. The General Inspectorate of Finances, which, we must acknowledge, is doing a great job, should also be deployed in all the Provinces of the Republic for control and audit missions that should not be limited to the current provincial officials, but which would also go back to all the provincial officials of the former legislature.
Your Excellency, Mr. President of the Republic, while supporting your fight in this sector, it seems to us judicious to draw your excellent attention to the possible risks of using the justice system on the grounds of the fight against corruption to get rid of certain actors and potential political opponents. The fight against all these anti-values deserves to be waged impersonally and with the same vigour and rigour for everyone, including in your own backyard.
Your Excellency, Mr. President of the Republic, we would like to conclude this point without inviting your Excellency to be firm in the face of all these dangerous separatist speeches that we have been witnessing for some time, which are an apology for tribalism and segregation. The Congo, our country, must remain one and indivisible; from north to south, from east to west; Muswahili, Muluba, Mungala, Mukongo, must remain all and all daughters and sons of the same mother, the DRC.
And in this great fight against tribalism, Your Excellency has a very great role to play by staying above the fray and promoting, not only in your various decisions, such as appointments, the diversity and representativeness of all communities, but also by sanctioning with great firmness any slippage from anywhere, including in your own Court and political family: the President of the Republic must be above the fray because he is the President of all Congolese.
- The rehabilitation and consolidation of the rule of law through solid, local and equitable institutions at the service of employment, youth, education, health and all our economic and social challenges:
Your Excellency the President of the Republic,
The Democratic Republic of Congo, our country, needs strong and credible institutions instead of strong men and women. It is the duty of all of us as citizens to contribute to this.
It is more of your constitutional duty as guarantor of the Nation and of the proper functioning of all the institutions of the Republic to see to it until the strongest of the sacrifices that may exist.
Alas, our concern is growing in view of the situation that currently prevails in our country.
Tournons La Page RDC had rightly welcomed the breach of your agreement, which unfortunately continues to remain a mystery to this day, between Your Excellency and your predecessor, the Life Senator, H.E. Joseph KABILA KABANGE.
Unfortunately, this rupture, far from bringing lasting solutions to the multifaceted crisis that our country is experiencing, is accentuating it.
Today the country is totally paralysed, there are even more councils of ministers,...it is total paralysis and the indicators are in the red in all the vital sectors of our Nation. The major and priority concerns of the population are forgotten. Even the education of our children forgotten and sacrificed for political purposes. The Congolese people are passively witnessing a pitched battle between your political forces, the outcome of which remains uncertain and more than worrying for our country and our democracy.
Excellency Mr. President of the Republic, your noble idea of uniting around the Nation men and women who share the same conviction, namely: to serve and work for the Congo, is to be welcomed and deserves to be supported. And Tournons La Page supports it.
But it is no less true that, at the rate things are going, your vision, although good at first, is leading us straight into an imprescriptible chaos. And here are the reasons that justify our fear today:
- The justified incomprehension surrounding the concept of the 'Sacred Union for the Nation', USN: to date, the little Congolese citizen who is not an expert in Congolese-style political terminology would like to know exactly what the legal and political nature of the USN is: is it a new political party? A political grouping? A political current? What would its doctrine be? What would be its backbone? What would be its political programme?
- The influx of all the opportunists hunting for political posts: the Congolese people are witnessing, not without astonishment, the rush of several political actors with chameleon-like language and speeches who, in order to attract your sympathy and participate in the sharing of the cake, pamper you and cover you with all the good and pretty names of birds of the world. Is it out of conviction or out of a desire to serve the Congolese people that they do so? The answer is no, Excellency Mr. President of the Republic, rest assured.
- The exclusion of the people from all your political dealings and their abandonment to their sad fate thus accentuating their misery in this difficult period of Covid-19.
- The bad and dangerous manipulation of justice, the laws of the Republic, and even the constitution for partisan purposes.
Your Excellency the President of the Republic,
In view of all these fears and uncertainties, Tournons La Page DRC :
- Reminds you that the stopwatch for your quinquennium is still running. At the end of the term, not even a single second more will be given to you in terms of slippage and that you will be alone with the Congolese people to take stock. And by misfortune if this happens, be reassured, Excellency President of the Republic, that it will be with the same determination that you and we, had resisted and fought your predecessor haunted by the demon of the slide and a presidency for life, that we will set ourselves up with determination and patriotism on your path;
- While encouraging inclusiveness and reconciliation, the TLP-DRC urges you to remove from all future responsibilities all personalities suspected of embezzlement of public funds and other crimes, including economic crimes;
- Recommends that you use the youth with clean hands and do not bring back the same people who, since post-independence, have only changed khakis over time and according to their selfish interests. The change that you advocate also goes through the renewal of this political class, of which many "old" people only have in mind the concern of finding themselves at the trough and continuing their predation, looting and also securing all the big fortunes they have already amassed by governing with your predecessors. It is only at this price that you will judge the sincerity of their sudden love for your leadership ;
- To fight against the accumulation of functions during the rest of your term of office. It is inadmissible to have ministers or heads of public enterprises, people who already have other public and elective responsibilities and offices: let the elected representatives of the people perform where the people have sent them (in the national parliament and in the provincial assemblies). This would not only moralise political life, but also allow the movement of elites and the inclusive and equal participation of all Congolese citizens in the management of public affairs: and here again, this would allow you to judge the sincerity of their mass adherence to your Sacred Union;
- Finally, to work tirelessly for the respect of the rules of the game and the laws of the Republic and to avoid any temptation to tailor laws and institutions: do not follow the bad examples of some of your African counterparts, former opponents and fervent defenders of democracy, but who, once in power, forgot everything and became more dictators than those they were fighting against.
May God bless the Democratic Republic of Congo, its President and its People, and may democracy live and reign forever in the country of LUMUMBA.
For Tournons La Page DRC,
Jean Chrysostome KIJANA,
International Vice-President and Country Coordinator
Tél. : (+243) 998893542
Me Jonas MULUMBA,
Southern Coordination of Tournons La Page DRC (Lubumbashi)
Tél. : (+243) 971654932
Me Jean Claude KATENDE,
Western Coordination of Tournons La Page RDC (Kinshasa)
Tél. : (+243) 811729908