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[OPINION] TSHISEKEDI IS GASLIGHTING DRC: The President Is Invoking The Dark Days Of ‘Kilulu’

Both President Felix Tshisekedi and his fierce rival Moise Katumbi of the Ensemble pour la République understand and know the deep-rooted differences that undercut the relationship between the people of Katanga and Kasaïs.

It’s for this reason that we find President Tshisekedi’s comments in Mbuji-Mayi on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, when addressing a campaign rally disturbing and dangerous.

President Tshisekedi said, “You know our suffering, our suffering with former regimes who looked
at us as non-Congolese. I don’t like the Kasai people to divide, you are brothers, our Kasai has been abandoned, let’s unite so that our Kasai can develop.

What a stupid and cowardly statement to make. In his five years as President, what has Tshisekedi done for the people of the Kasaï region? Nothing really.

Tshisekedi has forgotten that he is the symbol of national unity and unfortunately presents himself as the defender of the Grand Kasaï space. As a reminder, in five years MIBA (diamond factory) has not been relaunched, the funds disbursed for the construction of Kamanga Mbuji-Mayi, Kananga Kalamba Mbuji, University of Mbuji-mayi and Katende falls have been diverted by his relatives.

As if that’s not enough, Tshisekedi veered into the Katanga versus Kasaï undertones.

He said, “they manipulate our Katangese brothers so that they kill our Kasai brothers, the things of the world and useless, we cannot follow that, we when we refuse someone, we turn our backs on them, our brothers who have rallied to the enemy, we have no problems with them,” he said.

Contrast Tshisekedi’s message to his Kasaï tribesmates to Katumbi’s messages to the people of Katanga.

At many of Moise Katumbi’s interactions with Katangese, he has said, “atuna ba enemy, tuko ba adversary politique (we are not enemies, we are just political adversaries).”

The undertones are evident. The historical relationship of Katangese and Kasaïs is well documented. And leaders from from regions are advised to exercise caution in the manner they both address their supporters.

Imagine Katumbi, with the popularity he commands in Katanga going to tell his supporters that Kasaïs are the enemies of Katangese? Will Kasaïs find peace in Katanga?

Is Tshisekedi so foolish that he has forgotten how Kasaïs were described and are known as a ‘kilulu’ in Katanga. Has Tshisekedi forgotten the tubatelemushe drive? It’s utterly ridiculous for Tshisekedi to take the approach he has taken to win votes among Kasaïs.

What Tshisekedi is doing is gaslighting a simmering situation. Yet Katumbi as governor endeavored to unite both Katangese and Kasaïs. In fact, some Katangese fundamentalist say Katumbi opened the door for Kasaïs to settle in Katanga and most of them are now stabbing him in his back.

But that’s what a leader should do; unite and intergrate a people of one nation without looking at their tribe, creed or political affiliation.

Yet in his careless style and as head of state, Tshisekedi is pitting Katangese against Kasaïs by describing those of another region’s leadership as his enemies.

This is unacceptable. Tshisekedi must rise above this childish and careless approach of pitting Katangese against Kasaïs in the election of December 20, 2023.

It’s not in dispute that Tshisekedi is a sworn Kasaï tribalist and he has shown it in his management of national affairs.

Our appeal to President Tshisekedi is to desist from his attempt to sow seeds of division, hatred and tribalism. Otherwise, he will not handle the discontent.

Instead, the catastrophic consequences of his open tribalism will see him end up at the Hague or worse than Mobutu Sese Seko who died a lonely death in Morocco.

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