Joseph Kabila: Too Young to Leave the State House or Being a Role Model?


Whereas power gives more advantages to access resources, there is a possibility of getting it concentrated as well as becoming a source of confrontation. That is why it would be advisable to review power sharing between institutions but also narrowing channels that would make people becoming powerful individuals. Practically, I would suggest that some context needs to understand why there is so much confrontation around power exercising while citizens suffer from it.

It doesn’t require being as much as old to realize the obligation of complying on laws and regulations, especially the constitution. It’s simply a matter of understanding the necessity of having laws above individuals’ intentions-aspirations for the better of a society. However, politics goes beyond the conceptualizing and try to explain things in terms of forged meanings. Nonetheless, an experience as well as trajectory of country must be taken into account to get it run for the future of next generations.

Currently, the headlines within the DRC context as well as in the region are likely the clingy on power from our presidents. It is on top in Burundi, leading to heavy demonstrations to extent of targeted killings, assassination, use of violence/repressions have become a daily ‘diet’. On the other hand, Rwanda has initiated a constitution revision under a form of maneuvering demands from local population requesting the stay on power of their ‘unique’ president. In latter context, it remains hard to voice against what is labeled as the ‘willing and decision of Rwandans’. At the same time, Congo Brazzaville has announced a call on referendum to review the president term mandates. Besides opposition to the third term of President Denis Sassou Nguesso, there is a possibility that a referendum may take place and the winner can easily be predicted. Furthermore, cases of violent conflict in Soudan, South-Soudan, Central African Republic bring skepticism on the stability and life presidency.

Dos Santos & J. Kabila
Dos Santos & J. Kabila

The specific context of DRC has seen recently emerging the so-called G7, a group of dissidents from the presidential majority. The stumbling question affecting the majority on power is simply an agitation over a possible constitution revision that would allow the incumbent president to run for the third term. The dissidence led to an unprecedented resigns and demise of key figures from that coalition on power. After Olivier Kamitatu, JC Kibala, Sama Lukonde ministers at central level; there are also ministers at provincial levels in Katanga and Equateur who have also resigned. On the same list comes Mwando Simba the vice-president of the parliament, lower chamber who too has resigned.

A fascinating feature is that the contention over a third term has become an internal-struggle within different interest political groups. It’s no longer a question raised by the opposition or civil society’s activists. Therefore, it looks like in a near future there would be wide confrontation around the subject, particularly when considering that the State House remains the enviable position in Congo as well as in the region. The confrontation would probably be concentrating the battle field around regions and community interested to hold or recover the power. The current announcement of Moise Katumbi on twitter might implicitly have intended to express a lot on the next battle field of the presidency contention in DRC.

Presidency Cortege
Presidency Cortege

The blogger considers that one of the ways leading to stability is to comply for the rules of the game. However, there might be a nuance in undertaking analyses regarding contexts facing these challenges. Consequently, there is a need of keeping in mind that we have to do the best for avoiding a backsliding while comprehending that national unity can’t be held wherever there is unequal wealth redistribution. Nevertheless, the aim of this post is to reminding how African socio-political environments have seemingly allowed individuals to stay powerful as if they are alone with that privilege. Strikingly, the blogger still feels that the main concern of contending, splitting, dissidence around these positions must stress on the supreme interest of the ordinary citizen. So long as this can’t be guaranteed or assured, from my viewpoint, the rest becomes a ‘childish game’. To some extent, I allow myself to call some actions as opportunism so long as players of the game have had an opportunity to better change our daily living but they didn’t for undisclosed reasons.

For the sake of recapitulating the African context, the blogger has thought to share with the reader the trend expressing the stay on power of the DRC presidents’ neighboring countries. The trend tends to convince in itself that leaving the state house isn’t an easy task for those who had the privilege to occupy that position. Thus, the same may generally arise in DRC as the incumbent is the youngest among his colleagues. However, the question is how can someone be a role model? The table below gives an idea on what is the presidency term mandate in the African context, especially from DRC’s neighboring countries.

Table presents how long have stayed our presidents in the state house office.

Presidents/Stay on power Dos Santos Ali Bongo (1) Bongo Family[1] Denis Sassou (1)[2] Denis Sassou (2) Kagame (1) Kagame (2)[3] Museveni Al Bashir Salva Kiir Kabila Kabila Family[4] Nkurunziza
Date of Birth 1942 1959 1935 1943 1943 1957 1957 1944 1944 1951 1971 1971 1963
President’s Current Age 73 56 80 72 72 58 58 71 71 64 44 44 52
Year of Entering the State House 1979 2009 1967 1997 1979 2000 1994 1986 1993 2005 2001 1997 2005
Number of Years on Power 36 7 48 18 31 15 21 29 22 10 14 18 10

On the other hand, the table can be viewed from the graph below. The graph recapitulates president’s age versus the stay onto power. Seemingly, the youngest president is Joseph Kabila; though having occupied the state house longer than Pierre Nkurinziza, Salva Kiir et Ali Bongo Ondimba. Nevertheless, at some point, when including years from which the families reigned, Kabila’s family comes ahead of these two first presidents cited above, Burundi and South Soudan.

Graph recapitulating Years on Presidency as compared to Presidents’ Age

Except few cases such as Central African Republic, Tanzania, Zambia… having their own models of power exercise, the rest of Zaire’s neighboring countries have their presidents on average 20 years old as compared to Joseph Kabila. That may sound that the DRC president would have to occupy the presidency at least ten years again to reach the Ali Bongo Ondimba’s age. On another way, he may have to stay longer than that until he reaches the age of Dos Santos or Sassou Nguesso; roughly 30 additional years reign. What does this mean for him and what would be his inheritance that the Congolese society will remind? The reader can have a viewpoint on what would be the response. Thus, I argue these presidents to bequeath stable countries having foundation grounded on the rule of law. They must keep in mind that we all need a better treatment as do those seemingly privileged. Beyond requesting better life, I surely confirm that ordinary citizens are unlikely bossy. What do you think?

Ntanyoma R. Delphin

Secrétaire Exécutif & Coordonnateur

Appui au Développement Intégré &

à la Gouvernance

Compte Twitter @delphino12

Blog: www.edrcrdf.wordpress.com

[1] Including the father Omar Bongo

[2] Two periods presidency

[3] Since 1994

[4] Since LD Kabila

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