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Kabila promises polls, signs show otherwise.

By CHEGE MBITIRUbrThe New Year hours away, security agencies in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, Kinshasa, inauspiciously did what President Joseph Kabila should put an end to.Prior to anti-Kabila demonstrations the agencies were quelling, the government had shut down most of the mobile phone networks to disrupt the opposition's tactics.

The "bush telegraph" worked. Demonstrators turned up.

At least seven people died."Barbarism!" The Catholic Church lamented.

A statement on behalf of the UN Secretary General to get civilized and "uphold the rights of the Congolese people to the freedom of speech and peaceful assembly."By default, following his father, Laurent Kabila's assassination, Kabila became president in 2001, with hindsight, it wasKabila now 46 and in power for 17 yearsa case of a cancer patient entrusted to a schoolgirl playing nurse.

Luckily, Kabila had help from myriad international organisations and governments, including Africa's. A new constitution was promulgated in 2006. In elections the U.

N. supervised, Kabila won.

Given a chance to supervise the next round in five years, the government bungled. But that was tolerable.

Kabila's constitutional term would end on December 31, 2016. Kabila didn't budge. The government gave "reasons" why holding elections was impossible.

So ridiculous reasons were a 12-old could punch in a 50-ton trailer truck holes.Nonetheless, "Men and Women of Cloth" worked out a truce: Kabila would remain on "The Seat" for a year, pending elections in a year.

Kabila didn't budge. On Christmas Day, armed persons returned the compliment.

They burned down one of his palaces in North Kivu province. That's not surprising.

During Kabila's tenure, violence by and large, remained in North and South Kivu provinces, with sporadic eruptions in eastern regions.Unfortunately, due to his insistence on for-life-like remaining on "The Seat," violence has spread into the country's central Kasai region.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recently described the region as "landscape of horror" recently. Assuming what the Human Rights Watch says is only 20 per cent correctthis writer thinks it's 90-plus soMs Zeid's on the mark.

Statistics aside, it's common knowledge the DRC, with a population estimated at 79 million and nearly a quarter the size of the US is naturally well endowed.That's why humans have survived since the plunder in 1870s by Belgian King Leopold, with myopic local collaborators.

The plunder continues.The Economist magazine reports on December 21, the US imposed sanctions on one of Kabila's money buddies, Dan Getler.

According to the Treasury Department, the deals he brokered between the Kabila government and multinationals amounted to the DRC's $1.36 billion loss. That's only one case.

Now Kabila has promised elections by December this year. Inauspicious signs indicate otherwise.

As in 2006, the organisations that hammered some sense into the DRC leadership need into high gear and not relent until they finally get it right.A day of national stupidity is a vice more than a century ignominious.

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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jan 7, 2018
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