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Jeanine Mabunda: « Congolese are tired of politics »



The President of the National Assembly, Jeanine Mabunda Lioko, is of the opinion that Congolese are tired of politics. In an exclusive interview with RFI, she believes it is important to have a constructive and democratic opposition to the majority so that all tendencies can be expressed with some responsibility. This would meet the aspirations of the people who mandated its elected representatives in this legislative chamber.

For this first international media release, Jeanine Mabunda answered Florence Morice’s questions about the appointment of the Prime Minister, the absence of opposition to the assembly’s bureau, the announced return of Moïse Katumbi in the DRC as well than future reforms. Below, the entirety:

RFI: Your candidacy has created a surprise in Kinshasa. You have been preferred to several caciques of the era of Joseph Kabila. Why did he choose you?

Jeanine Mabunda: You said that I was preferred to some caciques. Others said that I was a woman-alibi or imposed. I do not think so. I am a political operator like the others. I have my experience that speaks for me. I come from the private sector, and then I migrated to the public sector where I served as a state mission for the Congolese people.

And generally, I am someone of conviction, sometimes, perhaps beyond political divisions. I made sure myself to convince my colleagues MPs, caciques or not, whether they were of my party or not, that I had a real vision, and this vision was to make the hemicycle home of the People, not the People’s Palace.

RFI: Barely elected in late April, you recalled the urgency of investing a prime minister in the DRC. Almost three weeks later, still nothing, no prime minister, no government. Does that worry you?

JM: These are not easy processes. It is for the first time that we make a transition where, in the end, a former president sees the electoral result that gives the voice to an old opposition, in a peaceful context. So we are a country of 80 million people with a history of conflict that has not been fully absorbed in one part of the country.

RFI: Of course, it’s not easy. But also three weeks ago, President Felix Tshisekedi promised that the name of the prime minister would be known in the next few days. What blocks?

JM: I think the discussions are going on and we’re going to land soon. But we have seen that in other countries, whether Finland, Austria or Belgium where it took 580 days to find a prime minister. So Congo is not an exception in this area. But I think we will go much faster than the 580 Belgian days.

RFI: And what do you say to those who say that the former president would somehow delay the appointment to hinder the action of President Tshisekedi?

JM: I’m a little bit surprised because they talk to each other quite fluently. And for us, the Congolese, compared to the political history in confrontation that we have known, it is a big step forward. We could not hope that.

RFI: On the day of your election, you also promised that you would listen to everyone, majority as opposition. Yet today the opposition is absent from the office of the Assembly. She refused the only post offered to her because she thought the law guaranteed her two jobs. Why does your political party refuse to grant him an additional position? What do you fear?

JM: I do not think it’s a matter of fear. The majority has a political weight obviously higher than that of the opposition at the moment when the discussions began.

RFI: Of course. But they, they dispute the distribution of positions. On the merits, do you regret that the opposition is not present at the Bureau of the Assembly, and will you make a gesture on their behalf?

JM: There is certainly an interest, an obligation to have Congo in all its diversity. And we started discussions with various leaders of the political opposition. The opposition is waiting for a counterproposal from the majority that would go in the direction of perhaps compensating for what they feel they did not get at the National Assembly’s office. We are setting up parliamentary groups.

After the parliamentary groups, it is the working committees. And it is perhaps within these different bodies that we can continue this dialogue to make everyone comfortable.

Jeanine Mabunda, former close to President Joseph #Kabila, she has just been elected head of the National Assembly. Appointment of Prime Minister, announced return of Moise Katumbi She answers questions @Flomorice

RFI: The Congolese Constitution provides in some very serious cases the impeachment by the Parliament of the President of the Republic to force him to resign. Will you be ready to operate this device if you are asked against President Tshisekedi?

JM: I believe that all the means of control are allowed in the respect of the institutions, and always in the concern of the national concord, and in the respect of the interests of the Congolese.

RFI: The opponent Moïse Katumbi announced last week on RFI his return to the DRC. For you in the current context, is this good news?

JM: It is the Congolese citizens who will judge. What we want is a constructive opposition, it is a democratic opposition, that all the sensibilities of the majority and of the opposition can express themselves, but with a certain sense of responsibility. Congolese are tired of politics. Nor can I judge and comment on an opposition that has many faces today. We heard the voice of Moses Katumbi, that’s good. But it will be up to the opposition – sensitivity Fayulu, sensibility Eve Bazaiba, Jean-Pierre Bemba and Moses Katumbi – to tell us what will be the voice of this opposition.

RFI: Moses Katumbi said that he came back to defend the Constitution. He suspects the Common Front for Congo (FCC) including wanting to change, implied to facilitate the return of Joseph Kabila to power. Would you be in favor of a reform of the Constitution?

JM: I think the words of Mr. Katumbi engage him. He makes speculations. But me, in my opinion, he is still pretty disconnected from reality. It’s been several years since he was outside Congo. It is premature in my opinion that he judges at a distance.

RFI: Some people fear that the Parliament will change the voting method to the presidential election to pass it by indirect suffrage?

JM: These are speculations. But that being so, I would not want to avoid a debate on the laws to which we are attached. On this subject, I must mention that I have received two delegations from civil society in South Kivu, women who tell me: in the current state of the electoral law, we women or us who do not have means, we are aggrieved.

RFI: So a global reform of voting methods is possible?

JM: I do not think it’s a taboo issue. We are listening to what the Congolese population is telling us too.

RFI: We also know that an anti-terrorist law is in preparation. A few weeks ago, for the first time, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack in eastern DRC. Do you think that we need to strengthen the anti-terrorist law in Congo?

JM: I am convinced that it is necessary given the recurring conflicts and the suffering that the Congolese have experienced in certain parts of the territory.


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