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[OPINION] A CALL OF DUTY TO PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: America Should Help End A Bleeding Congo; Tshisekedi’s Thirst To Suck More Blood Is In Overdrive

Since 1960 when the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) got independence from Belgium, more than 30 million people have died as a result of civil war, tribal conflicts and political disputes. The assassination of Patrice Lumumba marked a dark chapter in the history of one of the richest countries insofar as natural resources is concerned.

Several investigations have blamed the death of Lumumba on the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after authorization by 34th US President Dwight Eisenhower. As if that was not enough, the assassination of Laurent Desire Kabila in May 2001 is equally blamed on the west. And these two events have altered the complexion of the Congo.

The assassination of Lumumba gave birth to a 32-year-long dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko. His reign left the Congo in tatters steeped in poverty, corruption and civil strife. And the rise and death of Kabila gave birth to one of the longest civil wars on the continent sometimes referred to as Africa’s World War.

In all their suffering, the over 100 million inhabitants of Congo have remained hopeful that one day, their will and pursuit for happiness will be realized through choosing leaders of their own by ways of respecting their decision to vote through a democratic, transparent, credible, inclusive and fair election.

Today, a little over 43 million Congolese have registered to vote in the December 20, presidential and legislative elections. In the race is former Katanga governor Moise Katumbi, a son of a Greek-Jew migrant, Nissim Soriano, who settled in the area in the 1930s and mama Virgine Chapwe Katumbi, a Bemba of Katanga.

Katumbi is seen as the strongest competitor to Tshisekedi. And there have been calculated efforts to eliminate him from the race.

After failing to use a racist and separatist legislation to block Katumbi through the so called Tshiani law, President Tshisekedi has assigned the same pawn, Noel Tshiani, an American citizen to advance the invalidation of the candidature of the most popular opposition leader.

The Constitution Court will meet today in Kinshasa to decide Katumbi’s candidature and there is tension across the county. We understand this tension. And we fear for what the outcome will be should Tshisekedi’s wish be granted by the Constitutional Court.

Two critical issues have arisen as the Constitutional Court tabled the matter;

1) the petition by Tshiani against Katumbi’s candidature was submitted outside the mandated 48 hours of doing so. Just like Seth Kikuni’s petition against Tshisekedi was deemed inadmissible on account of falling out the 48 hours so should Tshiani’s petition against Katumbi. Fairness before the law means that both petitions are inadmissible on account of failing to meet the

2) the CENI has established that Katumbi’s candidature met all the legal requirements according to Congo’s Constitution to contest the position of President. Tshisekedi and Tshiani are insisting that Katumbi held foreign nationality even when the former justice minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba has denied this fact they were relying on. The same Thambwe Mwamba has confirmed that some candidates have dual nationalists, but they are focusing on Katumbi because of fear of a competitive race.

Well, we have established that Tshisekedi has Belgian citizenship and lived off social welfare in Europe. Tshisekedi has lived in Belgium for over 30 years. And his permit was nothing close to residence. Further, we have also established that Tshiani is an American citizen. Tshiani, who has been declared bankrupt by American courts, has two sons and his former wife in the Washington/Maryland area. If the Constitutional Court goes beyond the inadmissibility if the two petitions, Tshisekedi’s Belgian and Tshiani’s American citizenship should be a subject of their decision.

Anything outside what we see is a poorly choreographed scheme to eliminate Katumbi is a declaration of a revolt that is bound to spill blood in the DRC. No one but Tshisekedi wants to spill blood. We know he is thirsty for Congolese blood but he should not be allowed to do it.

In the interest of democracy, peace and global stability, President Joe Biden has a clarion duty to call Tshisekedi to order and not play with the lives of people in Congo by denying them an opportunity to vote for a leader of their choice.

A Congo at war is not only bad for the people of Congo as it will have a spiral effect on the mining industries, climate change, regional security and generally the global economy. America’s interest in the Congo is not a secret. The more reason President Biden and the global community must not allow the situation to degenerate just because Tshisekedi is avoiding competition.

America should not only be interested in setting up a plant that will use the copper in the Congo to make electric batteries. America should also be interested in ensuring democracy and the rule of law prevails in a critical partner such as the Congo.

As the day breaks, we hope President Biden has conversed with Tshisekedi not to throw our country into chaos. Any machinations by the Constitutional Court to alter the provisional 24 person list approved by CENI will send an already bleeding Congo into deep trouble.

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