January 16, 2019

Belgiums’s high-stakes attempt to have the United Nations intervene in Congo’s election outcome and road-block Felix Tshisekedi fizzled today when African countries stood firm to rebuff the former colonial power.

In the 1960s Belgium undermined Patrice Lumumba’s government when it promoted Katanga’s secession under Moise Tshombe. The United Nations ostensibly was supposed to help Lumumba’s central government by quelling the civil war. It did nothing to curb the breakdown of the country. Lumumba was ultimately murdered by Belgian agents after Mobutu handed him over to Tshombe. Congo has yet to recover from that tragedy.

These thoughts must have been on the minds of leaders of several African nations when last week they saw Belgium and its ally France calling for the Security Council to debate the outcome of Congo’s election. Both European countries rejected the announcement by the country’s election commission CENI that Tshisekedi had won, with Martin Fayulu as runner-up. In the end, the Belgian scheme died after it became clear that its claim that the powerful Southern African Development Community (Sadc) wanted a recount, was false. It seems Zambian President Edgar Lungu, who Chairs Sadc’s Politics, Security and Defense Organ, was carrying the Belgian foreign minister’s jock strap when he initially went along with the project.

Today when the United Nations Security Council released a statement by Congo all the language that Belgium wanted in order to eventually trigger an intervetion had been removed.

Meanwhile, Gilbert Mundela, a Special Envoy to President-Elect Tshisekedi, in an interview said he is confident that his candidate will prevail in the Constitutional Court challenge by Fayulu who claims he is the rightful winner of the election. The court will likely rule on the challenge this week.

Mundela, who is expected to become a senior government official should Tshisekedi survive the court challenge, says a new administration will look to unleash Congo’s potential and turn the mineral-rich country into a breadbasket and engine of growth for the entire continent by supplying electricity to be harnessed from Inga Falls. He said Congolese and professionals throughout Africa will be welcomed to help build a new Congo. He said Congo wants a relationship of cooperation with both Rwanda and Uganda countries that have invaded, plundered and carried out massacres through the years.

Mundela said Tshisekedi’s victory amounts to a continuation of Congo’s liberation which was disrupted with the 1960 tragedy. “The liberation of Congo is truly a victory for Africa,” he said.

Mundela said the allegations that Tshisekedi had struck a deal with Kabila was part of a “vicious attempt” to diminish his victory at the polls.

Mundela said the country may also pattern a reconciliation system that borrows from other countries that also endured decades of repressive regimes such as South Africa and its Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There, after the collapse of the odious apartheid regime, victims and perpetrators of abuses gave public testimony. “We cannot forgive before people apologize for what they have done,” Mundela said, when asked about corrupt officials under Joseph Kabila’s regime.

Mundela said all the reporting and speculation about a Fayulu victory is based on a dubious polls that had him suddenly surging on the day before the election. He says the figure attributed to Fayulu on December 29 had been concocted much earlier and was meant to be released on December 22, one day before the original date slated for the election, December 23. He said the figures were known before they were released. (See the related Op-Ed). The widely-cited poll is by New York University. In those polls, Fayulu had not broken above the 1% margin in six poll results released between February 2017 and July 2018. He polled 8% in October, 2018, while Tshisekedi was at 36%; other candidates accounted for the other figures. Then suddenly, by the time the December 29 figures were released Fayulu was at 47% and Tshisekedi’s numbers had plunged to 24%.

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