Category Archives: Ernest Wamba dia Wamba Bazunini

RDC : La question nationale n’est pas encore resolue

Here is a piece from Ernest Wamba dia Wamba related to what is going on in the DRC, in particular in the Lower Congo. On the Lower Congo, the so-called big media keep silent, in great part because they know that the only possible position on these issues is solidarity with those who are suffering, being tortured, maimed, violated, killed for no reason other than the killers’ thirst for power. Power for power’s sake.

1. L’hymne national, Debout Congolais, dit que nous, Congolais, sommes “unis par le sort ». C’est une unité extérieure par la force des conquêtes coloniales qui ont forcé ensemble différentes communautés, à différents niveaux de développement social—des communautés sans Etat, celles avec Etat embryonnaire, celles avec royaume ou empire en crise, etc– ; le résultat c’est le Congo Belge, en passant par l’Etat Indépendant du Congo qui organisa « l’holocauste oublié. »

2. Le Congo Belge organisa la forme globale de l’existence sociale—la cohabitation de toutes ces communautés—sur la base de la politique de « diviser pour régner. » Des communautés dites « martiales » étaient opposées à celles dites « poltronnes ». Des tribus étaient créées çà et là. Les BesiKongo, sujets du royaume Kongo, organisés par luvila(un rapport socio-politique d’appartenance au royaume), étaient, au Congo Belge, divisés en « tribus » (Bayombe, Bantandu, Bamanianga, etc.) La visée coloniale de la création d’une sorte d’Etat-Nation dominé, organisant les colonisés pour produire des richesses pour la métropole, faisait de l’Etat un Etat-greffe, c’est-à-dire un Etat implanté artificiellement, sans une base sociologique certaine.

3. C’est l’indépendance réelle seule qui allait permettre aux communautés colonisées et divisées d’arriver à une vraie unité intérieure. L’hymne dit que c’est par l’effort pour l’indépendance qu’on allait y arriver. Ce ne devait être qu’une unité négociée participative de toutes les communautés. Dans certains cieux, cet effort, cette négociation participative, a donné naissance à une Charte d’autodétermination—en Afrique du sud, par exemple. Chez-nous, la synthèse nationale entre le Manifeste de la Conscience Africaine et le Contre-Manifeste de l’ABAKO exigeant l’indépendance immédiate, n’a pas eu lieu avant que la Belgique, par des tables dites rondes, ait repris l’initiative de la décolonisation. Le Congrès de Kisantu, préconisant l’autodétermination avec autonomie relative des communautés, était encore partiale.

4. L’initiative de l’ABAKO, qui rencontrait certaines pesanteurs—des gens opposés à l’indépendance immédiate ou celle de ceux exigeant des colonialistes de préparer les Congolais pour l’Indépendance—commençait à être accusée de « séparatiste » parce qu’elle demandait l’autonomie du Kongo Central si les autres communautés n’étaient pas prêtes. Mais, avec les résultats du Congrès, l’ABAKO insista pour l’indépendance totale—sans sacrifier le droit à l’autonomie relative des communautés.

5. Le fait que l’effort pour l’indépendance s’était presque arrêté, en 1960, en faveur du seul fait de remplacer les colonialistes dans l’Etat colonial sous condition de l’approbation de ceux-ci et leurs alliés occidentaux, la négociation pour une unité participative et solidaire de toutes les communautés—avec droit démocratique de chaque communauté à l’autonomie relative—n’a pas encore abouti. On a vite posé l’équation coloniale : Etat=Nation. L’Indépendance n’était plus basée sur une forme globale d’existence sociale reconnaissant l’autonomie relative de chaque communauté comme un droit démocratique. Ceux qui occupent le centre de l’Etat se sont souvent proclamés garants de l’unité nationale qui n’a pas été un résultat des luttes d’autodétermination de différentes communautés et donc en l’absence d’une Charte d’autodétermination. L’unité dans la diversité dont continuent de parler les Constitutions qui se succèdent, n’est qu’une sommation mécanique à la coloniale—qui nivelait toutes les cultures en une culture sauvage des indigènes, culture considérée comme une anti-civilisation (civilisation Européenne s’entend !). Aujourd’hui, on oppose chaque affirmation d’identité culturelle à l’exigence d’ « universalité ou de modernisme ».

6. Il faut remonter au mouvement prophétique—dirigé par Simon Kimbangu Diatunguna—qui avait mis en cause « la domination blanche religieuse et laîque » pour commencer à comprendre l’enjeu de la nécessité de la résolution de la question nationale, celle d’arriver à une forme globale d’existence sociale participative, c’est-à-dire négociée participativement par toutes les composantes aux fins d’en finir avec la domination. Les gens oublient l’objectif final du mouvement, c’est pourquoi ils s’arrêtent sur les qualités de non-violence des dirigeants du mouvement, s’identifiant ainsi avec les responsables de la domination. Ceux-ci ont compris le caractère violent, c’est-à-dire son exigence de rupture avec la domination culturelle, spirituelle et politique européenne, du mouvement. D’où la répression disproportionnée (le non-violent Kimbangu est jugé par un Conseil de guerre) pour « la restauration de l’autorité de l’Etat colonialiste » dans toutes ses dimensions : spirituelle avec le renforcement des Eglises coloniales (Catholique surtout mais Protestantes aussi) ; politique avec la déportation et la relégation des adeptes des prophètes pour empêcher les effets organisationnels du dire et faire spirituels ; et économique avec la reconsolidation protectionniste des entreprises coloniales. Même les enfants des prophètes étaient pris en charge pour qu’ils soient « mieux amadoués » pour grandir avec des idées acceptables et des comportements respectueux de la domination.

7. Il faut comprendre le BDK comme une tentative de proposer une solution à l’épineuse question nationale, lorsque les dominants des appareils étatiques soi-disant post-coloniaux organisent l’Etat comme si le droit démocratique d’autonomie d’identité culturelle et ses effets politiques était interdit. Au moment où le BDK commence à se former, en 1969, les processus de connaissance, celui d’arriver au leadership national et celui de la foi sont tous extravertis. L’aspect positif de l’ « Authenticité » c’est d’être un cri d’alarme de l’absence de processus de créativité endogène. En appelant à un enracinement culturel pour relancer cette créativité, le BDK vise à une révolution culturelle. Comme toute révolution culturelle, visant à une critique des institutions entretenant une domination extravertie par une répression comme politique, c’est-à-dire une critique de l’artificialité de l’Etat dont le leadership culturel (ou son absence) étouffe les identités culturelles créatrices. L’émancipation, le BDK, n’est possible que sous condition de la rupture avec la culture occidentale dominante et aliénante—c’est sa prescription.

8. Faute de culture urbaine résultant des luttes de la défense populaire de la culture urbaine, avec l’insuffisance d’organisation ouvrière capable de donner une direction aux communautés paysannes, l’Etat compradore est incapable de produire une vraie culture nationale faisant écho de la diversité culturelle. La musique où cette possibilité se manifeste est parfois tenue à l’œil par l’Etat répressif qui veut la soumettre à sa dictature. Mais avant de poursuivre l’analyse de la problématique BDK, venons-en à l’échec lumumbiste de résoudre la question nationale par une centralisation du pouvoir, abusivement appelée « unitarisme ».

9. Après la conférence d’Accra, Lumumba épouse la thèse abakiste de l’indépendance immédiate et la porte au niveau national. Au lieu de tisser l’alliance avec l’ABAKO, enracinée dans les masses les plus politisées, relativement, de la colonie, il critique celle-là de « séparatiste » et ne voit pas la valeur positive du Congrès de Kisantu, par ce qu’il n’a pas la notion d’autonomie relative de communauté comme un droit démocratique capable de servir de levain dans la restructuration de l’Etat colonial. Il conçoit le fédéralisme comme ouvrant la porte au « séparatisme ». Ce n’est que peu avant l’élection présidentielle qu’il visualise que son gouvernement sans l’appui de l’ABAKO, ne pourra pas bien fonctionner à Kinshasa—faute de la confiance dans les masses Kongo. Il devait composer avec Kasa-Vubu.

10. Entré dans l’Etat, suivant l’exemple de certains pays africains dont les masses populaires étaient plus organisées politiquement, il adopte la politique du « révolutionnaire d’Etat », c’est-à-dire de la subordination de l’Etat à la politique de l’articulation de la volonté (de poursuivre l’effort pour l’indépendance), la confiance dans les masses (dont il ne contrôle pas l’organisation), l’égalité (chacun compte pour UN, dans un Etat colonial qui a institué la discrimination) et la terreur (redistribuer les ressources en faveur des masses contre les couches des riches ou clients de l’Etat colonial). C’est ce que les adversaires vont nommer « communisme ». Son parti politique n’est pas à la hauteur de servir d’opérateur de cette articulation d’autant plus qu’il contient beaucoup qui sont opposés à cette politique et qui sont aussi des taupes au service de l’adversaire. Il ne peut utiliser que les appareils d’Etat colonial dans lesquels, il est minoritaire. Il est donc tenté par la centralisation du pouvoir qui l’amènera à aliéner Kasa-Vubu et son ABAKO, bien qu’en crise, se privant, ainsi de l’appui des masses Kongo, bien déterminées de poursuivre l’effort pour l’indépendance. Au lieu de s’efforcer de réconcilier Kasa-Vubu et N’Kanza Daniel pour une ABAKO forte en sa faveur, il soutient la division et donc l’affaiblissement de l’ABAKO. Coincé, il n’a plus d’autre chose que d’aller tête haute vers la mort.

11. La critique du lumumbisme doit tenir compte des limites de la politique d’alliances du MNC-L, de sa conception de l’Etat indépendant et de l’absence de conception du droit à l’autonomie relative des communautés sans lequel, la démocratisation, en l’absence d’un mouvement ouvrier indépendant, ne peut réussir. La centralisation du pouvoir ne peut conduire qu’à une politique de parti-Etat. —Il faut cette introduction pour comprendre notre analyse du BDK dans le prochain dépliant.

Ernest Wamba dia Wamba Bazunini
Nkiutomba, le 1er avril 2008.

DRC: Will another war break out from the East?

  1. In the past, when politics were focused on the State, war was said to be the continuation of State politics by other means. War pitted one State against another. Today, when the weakness of a State is perceived as an ideal for neo-liberalist globalisation, war has hardly been declared by a State. Even the so-called preventive wars do not seem to be tied to States. Terrorism is said to be a trans-State condition of warfare and anti-terrorist war is a war pitting evil against good. Rogue States entertain terrorists. The anarchy of the criminal global economy of money laundering, drug traffic, slave traffic, violent looting of natural resources and corruption, etc. creates zones of tempest where the UN is called either to keep peace or make peace. Military servicing, in the UN, is competing with international servant activities (preaching for respect for human rights, etc.). Those zones emerge where important resources for exploitation exist in a situation of weak or inexistent States.
  2. When the world was organized by Cold War, a war opposing the “Free world” and the “Communist world,” low intensive warfare was used to weaken the adversary camp. This type of warfare seems to coincide with anti-terrorist war seeking to contain the remaining fragments of the “Communist world.” Sometimes it aims at disciplining the “bad Muslims.”
  3. In the Great Lake region, globalisation finds on the terrain ethnic differences that the colonialists had used successfully to set up discriminatory States as a way of gaining submission of the colonized peoples. Colonial States’ looting was organized through discriminatory administration of tribes—often created ex nihilo. Peoples were moved around by force, some declared lazy, others made collaborators of the Colonial State. Colonized peoples’ historical mindsets were exploited fully to advance colonialists’ interests. The growth of cities was carefully controlled and the mixing of people of different cultures was guided by the same mechanism—the trans-ethnic elite had to remain as small as possible, as domesticated as possible, as politically docile as possible and educated to ignore and hate their cultural/traditional backgrounds. Economic crises led to movements of people and these led to genuine mixing only in an industrial setting—mining for example. Ideologies to keep the groups separated, even hating each other, were also invented. The anthropological/ethnological colonial library is a testimony to this factor.
  4. Colonial States were criminal States, publicly organizing genocides sometimes without being really criticized. It is only now that it is being accepted that King Leopold II, for example, organized a holocaust (1874-1906). What about the massive killing and forced deportation of the people of the Kongo’s prophetic movement (1921-1957)? Criminal States can become genocidal States. Two of the post-colonial States have practiced genocide on part of their own people. The minority Tutsi, in Burundi, controlling the State by “owning” its repressive apparatus, and scared of losing power to the ethnic majority Hutu, tried to kill off the intellectual elements of the Hutu (1972). In Rwanda, the majority Hutu, controlling the State through a discriminatory quota system and barring Tutsi refugees from returning to the country, ended up killing internal Tutsi and Hutu opposing the system. Representation in public institutions, other than the military, was respectively 12% for Tutsi, 1% for Batwa and 87% Hutu, with the Tutsi being barred from the military. Threatened by the FPR’s (Rwandese Patriotic Front) armed struggle and Tutsi domination of the economy, among other things, the Hutu leadership unleashed the genocide.
  5. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda brought to the fore the dynamics of State-reinforced ethnic hatred, and it reinforced discriminatory mindsets in the region. Post-genocide healing has not been successful. Despite the legal effort of the creation of the International Criminal Court for Rwanda at Arusha and episodic reconciliation activities, the “never again banner” of determination has not been reached yet to transform people’s mindsets. Despite the holding of so-called democratic, free and fair elections, the Rwandese State has not gotten rid of its communitarian character of singularly defending Tutsi everywhere from being again victimized. It thus exercises some kind of regional gendarme for Tutsi protection. And Tutsi who feel threatened in the region look up to Rwanda.
  6. Since the Rwandese genocide took place, no firm statement against genocide has been made by the DRC State. The Mobutu regime supported the genocidal State of Rwanda and gave asylum to genocidaires (Interahamwe militia and the ex-FAR); with French support (Opération turquoise) it wanted to re-install the genocidal regime in power in Rwanda. This (among other things such as its support to Angola’s UNITA) prompted the governments of the region to unite and support the Congolese people to overthrow Mobutu regime. Rwandese RPA forces were the core of the forces that overthrew Mobutu. Once in power, L.D. Kabila resorted to a solitary exercise of power and felt too restricted by the control of the Rwandese on the new regime. In line with their communitarian fear of another Tutsi mistreatment, the Rwandese felt that any regime in Kinshasa should include Rwandese or pro-Rwandese people to make sure the regime won’t take any action threatening Rwanda. Eventually, conflict arose and L.D. Kabila sent off the Rwandese, after having humiliated them. Another rebellion started. L.D.Kabila had recourse to enemies of the Rwandese regime (the enemy of my enemy is my friend) and adopted their ideologies of hatred, falling back into the policy Mobutu had towards Rwanda. Very briefly, the support to the genocidaires has continued, publicly as well as secretly up to now.
  7. National reconciliation was not possible and the task of re-building the decomposed State was again put aside. The AFDL’s policy of trying to eliminate the core of ex-FAZ (Mobutu’s army), with the Kitona massacre and the ethnic recruitment for the new army could not lead to the creation of a real national army. Politico-ethnic nomination of officers tended to de-professionalize the armed forces, making them less effective. The war had once again to be fought by foreign armies principally. The main issue around which the war was focalized was the discriminatory functioning of the new regime in Kinshasa—the exclusion of the Congolese Tutsi minority and its defence by the Rwandese State. Regional alignment of forces was promoted by a project of democracy for the allies of the rebellion—at least initially—and foreseen economic profits for the allies of the Kinshasa regime. On the ground, most of the troops were motivated by the looting of resources. Two factors kept the rebellion splitting: the project of democracy and the alignment of forces in relation to the resource looting. One side believed that democracy was first of all the rule of the people by the people for the people; it is a rule of the majority and the protection and defence of the rights of the minority. The pro-Rwandese group believed that to correct the discriminatory character of the State, the victimized minority (Tutsi minority, essentially) must lead the State. Democracy is seen as the rule of the victimized minority and the protection of the majority. Any opposition to that minority was seen as a case of ethnic hatred and a possible alignment with genocidaires. Should looting of the national resources by allies be allowed, provided that they put us in power (pro-Ugandan Congolese, especially; also the Kinshasa regime willing to grant the looting, provided that the regime remains in power)? Should the looting of resources by anyone be forbidden (my rebellion group’s position)? At the end, might was right. Power was shared according to the amount of violence one could command. This opened the possibility of organizing a militia as a way to partake in power- sharing. And this still is going on, especially in the Ituri area, where militia groups are emerging to impose themselves in the power sharing process. Leaders of former militias (Peter Karim, Colonnel Jerome, etc.) have been incorporated into the FARDC, supposedly as a way of achieving peace in Ituri.
  8. The fragility of the State favours the emergence of armed banditry, and the looting of resources with the use of violence becomes within reach of whoever can organize a militia. Fast self-enrichment by many so-called leaders has been an outcome of violence or corruption. Instead of being something to get rid of, the fragility is used for such enrichment.
  9. The spiritual landscape needs to be taken into account. During the 1994 genocide, many people were being killed in churches, and some religious leaders were among the killers. A mindset of no fear of God and no respect for the human life of people of the adversary ethnic group got consolidated—to a point where even justice was subordinated to the psychological needs of revenge. A lady, in a meeting in Goma, was disturbed when I said that nobody had a right to kill anybody at any time. She said: “In the 1990s we were targeted, and I lost many relatives; now that the others are being targeted, you are saying that nobody has the right to kill anybody? Is that right?” Strong feelings of revenge remain, buried in many people’s psyches. The society seems increasingly bound to violence. In Ituri, people were being burned in their homes; villages were being wiped out. Those who survive are traumatized to a very significant level. This buried violence in the body, as Fanon would say, once in a while erupts like a volcano. Violent raping of women as a form of war has damaged humans who find it difficult to feel a sense of peace. People are militarized mentally, and the demilitarization of minds and spirits has yet to take place.
  10. Discrimination remains rampant. The Tutsi minority (Banyamulenge, especially), unable to lead the State completely, as they wanted, and having been refused a territorial division (Minembwe being said not to qualify to be one), feel somewhat excluded. They have been voicing their unhappiness; they are accused of wanting to take up arms. Cattle raisers, predominant in our Eastern part of the country, are familiar with weapons and warfare; they are feared on that ground. The new regime, dominated by people from the Eastern part of the country, discriminates against soldiers from the ex-FAZ of Mobutu, keeping them out of the FARDC or jailing them, accusing them of supporting Jean Pierre Bemba; that policy may provoke an armed conflict.
  11. n brief, conditions for the continuation of war or warlike activities are still in place. The Rwandese genocidaires remaining in the DRC, organized as Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), violently create their space for conducting their so-called liberation struggle. Congolese getting close to the area are killed or tortured and maimed. Many casualties are treated in the Bukavu hospital. Increasing military confrontations opposing the FARDC and the FDLR are taking place. Violent looting is still seen as very profitable. Even MONUC soldiers are accused of exchanging weapons for gold in Ituri. The FARDC have started having military confrontations with Banyamulenge in South Kivu. Until the State can have a real organized presence in the area, warlike activities will continue. With their accumulation, given the lack of political will on the part of the government to really organize a real national army and decide to keep out armed rebels from neighbouring countries, another major war is likely.
  12. 5th Maboke.
    Wamba dia Wamba Bazunini
    Kinshasa, August 10th 2007

The first budget of the DRC 3rd Republic has been reluctantly adopted by the Parliament (both chambers)…

Kinshasa, July 28, 2007.

1. The National Budget is the annual financial planning of the execution of the tasks required by the nationally approved programme. The latter is the reformulation of the national consensus achieved through election campaign debates. These focus on seeking some agreement on the fair diagnosis of the ills of the country and what to do to cure them.

2. No national debates really took place, not even those legally required between the two second round presidential candidates. Security reasons were given to explain the failure to respect the law on this matter. The occasion was missed to take stock of the country’s situation. In our view, the country is in a catastrophic situation requiring an emergency sort of programme to get the country out of it to some kind of normalcy. This would have required an understanding on the need to have the government be formed on the basis of that consideration, rather than that of compensating all those who made it possible for the majority (AMP ) to win. There would have been a need to concentrate the available resources rather than spread them too thin. Government should have been smaller (18 people, for example) rather than elephantine at 60 people. The order of priorities should have been rigorously linked to the requirement of getting the country out of the catastrophic situation. Members of government should have been selected in terms of their personal and political commitment to save the country, as well as their competence in handling necessary tasks. The focus should have been on the mobilization, empowerment and motivation of the Congolese working people.

3. The Budget was, thus, not responding to the requirements of the situation. Almost everyone criticized the unrealistic character of the Budget. Even the five areas (five chantiers) selected as priorities by the Head of State were budgeted at 26.3% of the Budget. Once again, close to half the budget came from outside financing sources. In relation to last year, a slight improvement in internal resources financing was made.

4. Our friends of the civil society (GAT/OCAP ) have made a good breakdown analysis—a copy has been sent to the website: www.otabenga.org/. A number of conclusions can be drawn from that analysis. The separation of powers (executive, legislative and judiciary) does not entertain the idea of equality. The executive gets a much bigger part of the budget, followed by the legislative power, with the judiciary having almost half of that of the legislative. The ratio of powers, in terms of the budget, is 24 to 6 to 3. Due to the changes being introduced through the new Constitution—decentralization and the need to eradicate impunity—the budget allocated to the judiciary is just insufficient. That factor alone is impunity generative and supportive. Courts will simply not eradicate corruption. Of the part that is allocated to the executive, almost half of it goes to the Presidency alone. This factor leads to what Bemba’s party (MLC ) has referred to as a tendency towards the presidentialization of the regime, while the latter is supposed to be semi-presidential. The fact that most of the resources allocated for security go to the Presidency is conducive to making security a “domaine réservé du Président” as in the times of Mobutu’s imperial presidency.

5. The country is in a catastrophic situation with 82% of the population living under the poverty line of one dollar per day. People have almost no access to health services, nutritious food, decent housing, potable water, etc. In some families children eat by turn, the one who eats on Monday can eat again maybe on Friday. Some people go searching for something to eat in the rich people’s garbage. The number of people who are treated by herbalists—charlatans or good ones—is growing. This explains, in part, why there are about 2000 people who die daily. Malaria, very much developed by the fast reproduction of mosquitoes due to the insalubrious environment, is the leading cause of death. Each family is struggling to get a son or a daughter abroad so that he/she can send a few dollars each month. Western Union is the most visited money institution. The day that a government closes it will lead to a revolt. Despite all this, the Budget hardly responded to that situation.

6. The key to our self-development is the effort that is required to make 60 million Congolese the best force of development. The educational structures are now in great crisis, not only do they need to be revamped, they have to be increased in quantity and improved in quality. Although in relation to the past the allocation for Education has been increased to 11% of the Budget, this won’t make much change at all.

The health of the citizens is given only 3.4% of the Budget. Just a visit to hospitals in Kinshasa—with patients sleeping outside on the ground—makes one realize the health situation here. Competent personnel exist, but they are poorly paid and lack motivation. Doctors are emigrating, especially to South Africa. Health policy is almost non-existent. Of 3000 pharmacies in Kinshasa, only 37 meet quality standards. This means that most of them are shops of drugs that are not checked. They are spreading death. A dispensary in Masina recently had to be closed because each case it treated died. Compared to other countries, women dying due to birth complications is high. Due to stresses of daily survival and poor nutrition, cases of people dying of hypertension are rising.

7. The housing policy, in a country of growing urban population, is not well articulated. The budget for housing was put at 0.134% of the Budget. Recently, in Kinshasa, supposedly to clean the city, the Governor has been tearing down houses and huts which people supposedly built illegally, leaving them without housing. Feelings are running very high, and with momentum, some of these things are going to lead to an uprising. This takes place in a world where it is now possible to build a house, with pre-fabricated materials, in 45 minutes. No attention is given to the modernization of traditional houses, using local materials. Very little support is given to the Habitat organization.

8. The great difference in treatment between the city and the countryside (kept out of “civilisation”) is hardly addressed by government. While Pygmies who belong to some Bantu, in Ituri for example, are much worse off, rural people are not necessarily much better than that; they hardly have access to potable water. The penetration of capital in the country side led to the destruction of streams of potable water which people used. Efforts are made in some areas, but in the main, the conditions remain very bad. Agriculture is one area that could deal with the issue. There is a project for producing bio-carburant from a tree (puluka) that peasants would find easy to grow and would make money on the order of $1000 per year for 100 trees, but it has not gotten the attention of government. Agriculture has been allocated 0.77%; and rural development (note that up to 70% of the population live in the rural area; this is changing with wars) is allocated only 0.66% of the Budget. The ratio of agriculture to National defence is close to 1 to 8.

9. Water and electricity services get only 4.6 % of the Budget. So many promises were made to people about improving their access to electricity and water. There is simply no way that something significant will be done. All social sectors combined received only 20% of the Budget.

10. The Budget does not deal explicitly with the requirements of decentralization.

11. Many things could be said of the Budget; we cannot say them all here. The exercise of elaborating such Budget was just a bureaucratic continuation. There is nothing that would suggest a break with the past. This should have required the regime to find creative ways of increasing the resources. Insufficient attention has been given to fiscal reform and to identifying sectors that do not pay taxes. Taxes on property, such as housing, are hardly dealt with. The American company exploiting oil off-shore at Muanda does not pay taxes. (The Energy Minister said to the transitional Senate that the government did not have access to the company’s accounting books and thus had no way of knowing how much the company owes the government.) The destruction of the city like Kisangani by the military confrontation Rwanda-Uganda (1999) should allow the government to ask those governments to pay for its reconstruction. Looters, identified by the UN expert panel, should also be made to return what they looted. When a person, without any real income to talk about, becomes a billionaire in 5 years, this should be scrutinized. The requirement that people elected to offices present a statement of their property before entering office was made a joke of. Sealed envelopes were received in lieu of public statements. And there is no way to verify anything. When a country is in the hands of looters, the Budget becomes a joke. In the past, those overdrawing their accounts of the Budget were hardly taken to task. The National Budget remains the arena of class struggles. The class of looters, supported from outside, is winning. People are not empowered to have control over the national resources.

Is this uncivil third DRC republic a state? Whom does it serve?

1. In its most recent report, ICG (International Crisis Group) has deplored the repressive tendencies accompanying the dawn of the DRC Third Republic. Protests are handled repressively, acts of insecurity, throughout the country, seem to be mostly originating from elements of the FARDC. One must also speak of the government incapacity to uproot armed insecurity in the Kivus and northern part of Orientale Province. In Kinshasa itself an average of 5 people are killed daily by people in military uniforms. In parts of the city, one is at a high risk of getting robbed of one’s property (especially mobile phones), by armed people if one goes out past 8-ooh pm. Security and administrative harassment of citizens (through traffic policing, fiscal tax demanding, demolition of houses supposedly built anarchically—even when official title papers exist, etc.) seems to be increasing. Ordinary citizens now experience daily the fact that their principal enemy is the ‘State’.

2. Since the National Sovereign Conference (NSC), the diagnosis of the anti-civilian people character of the repressive apparatuses of the post-colonial state has been done. The decolonization of the colonial Force Publique(the colonial army), changing its army of occupation character and its anti-civilian population ‘mentality’, has not been accomplished. Its colonialist features seemed, instead, to have been worsened by the dictatorial Presidency of Mobutu and the ‘regionalist’ tendencies of rebellions. The Force Publique,ultimately, became a dictator’s militia. Today, rebel militias are having hard time to transform themselves into a real pro-people national army. The desire to have a so-called Republican army is always being expressed in many fora. It has not gotten a solid political support—despite the “correcting strings attached”, by the country’s partners, to the foreign military assistance. Is it accidental that ‘advanced democracies’, such as that of the USA, are now relying on armies of volunteers? Does it not this put private personal interest and desire for upward social mobility ahead over social solidarity with every citizen, especially with the poorest? Clientele militias are not far from that.

3. The fact that “political police” services—the so-called security services (ANR, etc.) have been shaped by dictatorship requirements and rivalry between transitional ruling groups, they tend to function as structures favouring one person or an oligarchic group. Agents of those services are more concerned with finding out possible enemies of the ‘leader’ or the ruling oligarchic group among the people rather than with the security of the whole country and its entire people. People are kept under constant surveillance, harassment and sometime subjected to arbitrary arrest. One needs to experience this to be most aware of it. I learned a lot when I was arrested by the military intelligence and spent months in an underground jail (1981-1982). Recently, I had to rescue my nephew who got detained in a solitary confinement, at Kin Maziere. Rumours spread that he was likely to replace the incumbent minister of health—he was then the Kinshasa medical inspector. The minister made up cooked allegations of embezzlement of funds from one of the program run by the inspector. This program was closely supervised by a UN agency. The minister’s figures created by his office did not tally with the real ones by the agency. Still, the inspector was put in solitary confinement before even the judiciary enquiry was ordered. I had to see the Attorney general and the minister of Justice. At some point, the Attorney asked my nephew to write an apology letter to the minister who accused him of arrogance! He luckily refused. I used this information effectively and got him released. Those who have nobody to intervene on their behalf are kept in confinement to satisfy the ego of some authority. Street children in Kinshasa, suspected of supporting J.P. Bemba, were recently rounded up, without any due process, and taken to Katanga.

4. Recently, a great number of people have been released from the famous Makala jail. Most of them were being kept there illegally. Some should have been legally held only for 48 hours, but were kept there for months. Members of the Bundu dia Kongo, in 2003, were illegally kept there for a full year. The crucial independence of the judiciary could be reinforced by also getting the security forces to function normally as part of a true Republic.

5. The abuse of power is closely related to the nature of state structures. Very little theoretical discussion is, however, done on the nature of the DRC so-called state structures and institutions. In rural areas, people think that the state disappeared (“bwabedi leta ko, nga bwabu..”—literally, when there was a state things were organized..). This is what makes them think of the colonial situation as having been a better situation. One peasant was heard to have asked, ‘when will this independence end?” The rampant systemic corruption has affected people’s capacity to see beyond individual wishes. The state is ultimately looked at by pointing at the ethnic, clientele or oligarchic membership of those occupying the institutions.

6. The needed intellectuality, dealing with what to do to transform the colonial/dictatorial/ethnically discriminatory state structures and forms of consciousness, is not done. What would be the best structures of state, favouring the fulfilment of the needs of the large masses of people? How do we understand the concrete history of state apparatuses (public administration, civil servants’ capacities and ways of developing these, armed forces—discipline, esprit de corps, profiles of courage, exemplary services to the people, ways of rewarding their altruistic actions–, related forms of consciousness, political and professional ethics, forms of confidentiality, forms of workmanship, rules and regulations, forms of promotion and demotion, etc.) How do we grasp the successive prescriptions to the state apparatuses (colonial, UN, dictatorial, democratic, transitional, etc.,) and the forms of fidelity to the consequences of those prescriptions? The failure to have raised and confronted those questions and many more has made the post-colonial functioning as a colonial Trojan horse the new occupants find difficult to wield. Descendants of colonialists, as it were, become necessary advisers to help the new rulers feel comfortable in their new clothes.

7. Advanced countries recognize that, even for the decent running of the state, the best resource is human intellect. States give themselves think tanks, research/study/investigation structures to help them continuously produce necessary new ideas to cope with changing environments. Almost nothing serious is signed without for it having been thoroughly studied by one or more think tanks. The machinery of state itself must be, from time to time, be put under scrutiny and renewed. Our so-called state institutions are allergic and opposed to human creative intellect. Even simple reading of materials outside of what the daily routine tasks demand of the civil servant, for example, is hardly encouraged or seen done. To the extent that 60 million human intellects are not seen as the best resource the country has, the state is organized as a machine for accumulated waste. It is madness that this is called ‘program of development”. People in government laugh at my constant suggestion of the need for creating a think tank to intellectually equip the government. The best copy of the so-called democratic institutions by a country that despises human intellect won’t produce effective democracy at all. Is it not sheer stupidity for a state to get people who have not seen the text of the draft constitution vote in the referendum? Literacy is the life blood of a decent state. A state that organizes university education producing graduates who cannot read nor write is a machinery of wastage. This explains also the absence of real libraries countrywide; their demand seems to be inexistent or minimal. Papers of used books, on sale and bought—often stolen—are used to wrap peanuts, etc. for sale. A friend of mine had to buy 500FC worth peanuts to get the “confidential papers” used to wrap them.

8. It is sad to note that city people (in contrast to rural people) still behave as if they had faith in a state that hardly exists. They certainly believe that the state will come some day collect the garbage. What would happen if people gave up that faith and start to organize themselves as if a separate coercive state were unnecessary? Societies without states existed and they were not worse than the DRC.

9. Let me end here with a song that reveals the understanding of the colonial state by the followers of Simon Kimbangu:
Mpila kiadi kiakala ku Madimba (What a sorrow that was felt in Madimba); Bantu bandombe bu bakangama (when the Black people were arrested); Bantu bandombe bu balomba Dibundu (when they demanded for their Church); Bantu bandombe bu basambila (when they prayed); Ref. Mpasi zazingi tumweni mu nsi yayi kua Falama (we suffered a lot in this country at the hands of the Flemish); Ntumua zazingi zafwila mu boloko dia Falama (many disciples died in the Flemish jail); Tuka kina ye buabu tueti vova ( Since then until now we speak); Mansanga meto makidi vaika (Our tears are still falling down); Tuka kina ye buabu tueti vova zindiamu zau ka tuzeyi ko (Since then until now we speak, we donot know their tombs.) .

We hear and read about all kinds of statistics about the DRC, but the ones which really provide the vital signs of the political health of its people, of democracy are very rarely, if ever, heard of. For example: Has the colonial state referred to in the above song ever been abolished?

In the massacre in Bas Congo,122 people were said to have died by the state bullets. An important number of the members of the BDK are said to still be missing after they have been taken to be interrogated. How many have so far disappeared in the jails of the Third Republic? How many street children (Chege) have disappeared simply because their visibility stood out like a daily accusation of the inhumanity of the state toward its most vulnerable citizens. The eyes of these vulnerable people, day and night, see; their ears stay open…

Maboke no.2.
Ernest Wamba dia Wamba Bazunini
Dar es Salaam, July 9th 2007.