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Jeanine Mabunda: « Congolese are tired of politics »

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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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DRC: the « education » project will be submitted to the WB Board of Directors in February 2020

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DRC: Education project to be submitted to World Bank Board in February 2020

The Government’s emergency project on free « Basic Education » will be submitted to the World Bank’s Executive Board in February 2020. According to the Vice President for Africa, Hafez Ghanem, preparations are being intensified to ensure that this deadline is met.

« We are working very quickly on this education project. And we plan to bring this project to our Council as early as February. Regarding the height of the amount, we are in the process of making evaluations. It’s going to be a big amount, around a billion US dollars, » he told reporters at the end of his meeting with the Congolese delegation led by Finance Minister José Sele Yalaghuli.

Indeed, this emergency project is part of World Bank support for the Government’s efforts to provide free basic education, the implementation of which began last September.

To relieve the pressure on public finances to allocate at least US$25-37 million each month, the World Bank has pledged to support the Congolese Government in this regard.

https://twitter.com/Zoom_eco/status/1184909044315758593?s=20In line with the commitment of the Head of State, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi, and the President of the World Bank, David Malpass, the Minister of Finance, José Sele Yalaghuli, has clearly indicated the Congolese Government’s firm desire to see the process speed up so that funds are released within an acceptable time frame.

« This is the right time for the partners of DR Congo to match the real political will of the Congolese national executive to meet one of the aspects of the World Bank’s mandate, namely: the fight against poverty, » he said at a previous meeting with the World Bank delegation led by Jean-Christophe Carret.

With regard to the health coverage programme, Hafez Ghanem reiterated his institution’s commitment to continue working alongside the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly in the fight against Ebola.

 

He added: « We will also work with the Government on a new health programme to strengthen basic health centres and improve access to health across the country. »

However, he gave no indication of the amount of funding for this health programme, especially since it is currently under study.

As a reminder, the delegations of DR Congo and the World Bank held a working meeting on Thursday 17 October 2019 in Washington DC. Experts from both sides, led by José Sele Yalaghuli and Hafez Ghanem respectively, reviewed ongoing projects within the World Bank portfolio and those under preparation.

In addition to education and health, projects related to infrastructure, connectivity (roads) and the digital economy were also discussed.

Eric TSHIKUMA, from Washington

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DRC: the three axes of the Accelerated Programme to Combat Poverty and Inequality

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DRC: the three axes of the Accelerated Programme to Combat Poverty and Inequality

The President of the Republic launched his Accelerated Programme to Combat Poverty and Inequality in Kinshasa on Wednesday 16 October at the site of my valley in the commune of Mongafula.

This Programme aims to ensure that twenty million Congolese living in rural and peri-urban areas in the 145 territories of our country leave poverty or extreme poverty within the next 5 years.

It has three components: improving rural and peri-urban populations’ access to basic socio-economic infrastructure and services; promoting rural and peri-urban economies; and building capacity in managing for development results at the national, provincial and local levels.

The first component aims to increase the population’s access to basic services such as housing, electricity through the promotion of micro hydroelectric power plants, drinking water, health and agricultural access roads. This list is not exhaustive.

The second component aims to ensure that people in villages and peri-urban neighbourhoods have improved and stable sources of income and that they consume at least one balanced meal per day. This component will place particular emphasis on promoting inclusive agricultural sectors.

The third component aims to develop a culture of autonomy, which will result in the appropriation of development by the beneficiary populations, the strengthening of self-esteem, meritocracy and a motivated attachment to their living environment.

Substantial resources for this ambitious program!

« The Programme, the main components of which I have just unveiled, requires ambitious funding over several years, » said Félix Tshisekedi, aware of these challenges. In the face of such an ambition, the Head of State asks the Government to spare no effort to explore all possible avenues likely to provide the means for this saving action for the people.

It is with this in mind that the last Council of Ministers adopted the hypothesis of a budget reaching the 10 billion mark.

In addition, Félix Tshisekedi intends to engage the country in far-reaching reforms ranging from the rebuilding of the state with justice as the epicentre to the sectors of national life.

This is how he makes his main focus the fight against anti-values, particularly corruption, embezzlement of public funds, tax fraud, smuggling and tribalism. And all means will be used to ensure that all State revenues are channelled into the Public Treasury.

Finally, to make this programme a success, the President of the Republic is counting on the involvement of all his compatriots, beyond the divisions.
political.

Harris Kasongo

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DRC: Economic and financial situation at the heart of a meeting at the World Bank

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DRC: Economic and financial situation at the heart of a meeting at the World Bank

The economic situation in DR Congo is the focus of a meeting on Thursday 17 October 2019 at the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington DC. The Minister of Finance, José Sele Yalaghuli, leads the delegation of Congolese experts.

In his presentation, the national silversmith described a macroeconomic framework for DR Congo that has remained stable.

Despite accumulated deficits of 420 billion Congolese francs at the end of September 2019, domestic prices and the exchange rate fluctuated slightly. And at this rate, the Government reports inflation of 4.2% at the end of December 2019, which is below the 7% end of period forecast level.

Referring to the strategic and political orientations of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Minister Sele Yalaghuli cited in particular the tightening of public spending in order to limit deficits and the subscription of treasury bonds with the ambition of mobilizing 150 billion CDF by the end of 2019 to fill the gaps.

The first results are promising, especially since a small monthly budget surplus was recorded at the end of September 2019.

Moreover, added Sele Yalaghuli, the third orientation concerns the Government’s firm commitment to pursue the implementation of reforms with the support of partners to remove obstacles sector by sector and to be able to remedy them.

With regard to cooperation between the Congo DR and the Bretton Woods institutions. After the break-up of the formal programme with the IMF in 2012, the ongoing recovery strategy of the current discussions is based on two options.

First, the interim program. Then, the formal program. If the first one will cover the preparation period of the second one, the conclusion of the formal programme could take place after the third quarter of 2020.

« This is the right time for the partners of DR Congo to match the real political will of the Congolese national executive to meet one of the aspects of the World Bank’s mandate, namely: the fight against poverty, » José Sele Yalaghuli said, addressing the World Bank delegation led by Jean-Christophe Carret.

With the World Bank, experts from DR Congo are working on preparations and options to initiate disbursement of funds for the Government’s priority sectors on are: basic education and universal health coverage.

This interaction with World Bank teams continued, with Hafez Ghanem, Vice President in charge of the Africa region, as the focus.

Eric TSHIKUMA, from Washington DC

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