Speaking on the microphone of the Free Africa of Belgium on 13 August 2017, the Honorable Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi continues to open the belly of the boas. Neither does he fail to propose the strategy he considers best suited for a good outcome in the face of the current political challenge in DR Congo. This is what can be read in the following lines:
« There’s nothing good to expect from Joseph Kabila … except for a divine surprise. But even if I’m a believer, I do not think it can happen with him. » In a few words, Antipas Mbusa Niamwisi, set the scene. He, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Gizenga government in 2007, under the presidency of Joseph Kabila, does not for a moment foresee that the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo can engage in a truly democratic process, even with delay.
In your opinion, will President Kabila organize the presidential elections?
My first answer is no. If he does, it can only be in two very specific cases. The first, he manages to change the constitution and he can be a candidate. The second, he finally finds a candidate in whom he can trust, therefore in his family circle.
But you think that in these two cases he can hope to win the ballot?
Democratically? never ! But by controlling all the workings of the electoral machine, he can pass or cause to be passed even with 5% of the votes. We must not delude ourselves, this gentleman will never again be able to win a poll with us. Neither the one that will appear under his label. But the power has money and controls the Ceni (independent national electoral commission), so he can consider everything. In 2011, he did not win the ballot and yet …
You worked with him …
Yes, I was Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Gizenga government. I saw Joseph Kabila change. From his first election, he began to confuse the public good with his portfolio. I remember a visit to Kisangani where he wanted to appropriate the town hall of the city because he found it to his liking. I had a crazy moment to dissuade him, to explain to him that it was the town hall, that it was not a private good. He really insisted but we held on. Before the 2011 election, I explained to him that I no longer wanted to work with him. He did not like it but I was determined. I explained to him that the people no longer wanted him. He did not care.
You still have good relations with Rwanda and Uganda, as you were in rebellion against Laurent-Désiré Kabila?
Let’s say I have a good address book and I could revive it after staying a while back and not only with the countries you mention. It’s wider, but it’s in the east, that’s true.
Is President Kabila still in favor of the heads of state of these countries?
Time has done its work. The presidents of this region have eyes and ears like you and me. They find that the DRC has become a powder keg. A deflagration in our country could have terrible consequences for them. Some would like new blood. Others want to play a positive role in the future of our country. This is not angelicism, they also play their future in this matter.
Your name was mentioned in the New Year’s Eve agreement in the chapter « Decrispation ». You have been allowed to return to the country, have you already returned?
No. It is not because my name was on this list that I am no longer a target of the power. I do not want to expose myself unnecessarily. Today, I am more useful outside. We must see the world, we must mobilize the international community, our African brothers, our neighbors. I am not idle, believe me.
You are now a member of the Rally of the Opposition in the AR. How do you explain the difficulties of the opposition in mobilizing the people?
It’s complicated because some leaders are outside and can not return. It’s also complicated because we played the game of dialogue to the end to avoid the worst and some did not understand. By exceeding the December 19, 2016 (date of the end of the second term of president Kabila, NdlR), the agreement of the Cenco calmed the ardor of the population. But if everyone had respected the established rules it was the least bad solution. President Kabila was given one year to go and organize the elections. One year is not the end of the world. But he spat on this agreement.
But you still have difficulties to mobilize …
The former mobilizations were good and we must continue to unite against this power. It’s also difficult because you have a power that has all the money it wants to try to debauch its opponents and organize a mess. He and his circle are behind the conflicts between pygmies and Bantu. The massacres of Beni, I was the first to say it was him. It was very dangerous to say that. I was accused, threatened, but I was right. What is happening in the Kasais, the attacks on prisons, the raids on Kinshasa, all that is the power that is behind it… In the face of these events, there is only one solution, the creation of a unit as wide as possible. I had already tried an alliance with Tshisekedi in 2011. Kengo was by the way apart. But unfortunately it did not succeed.
You think this kind of scenario is more likely to succeed today?
The Times have changed. The Rally holds. Those who were to leave were gone. Today we need to get together. We must set aside our differences to think about the future of the Congolese people. It is a complete disaster in this country. We can no longer accept it and the people will push us behind our backs. The tension is palpable in Kinshasa but there are many other places where it bubbles. All the Congolese who can travel a little, find that as soon as they enter Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe or Angola, to name but a few, there is water, electricity, roads, … At home, it is the total desert while we are potentially the richest. Where has this wealth gone? In the pockets of Kabila. Look at all the files that come out and overwhelm him and his loved ones. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been misappropriated for personal use. Kabila became a pathological case because of this mountain of money. The Congolese are tired of this situation. They will not stand it any longer.
You fear an explosion of violence?
It should not be excluded. The population is pushed to the limit. Sooner or later there will be an uprising that power will not be able to control.
With the risk that some soldiers or adventurers try to seize power …
That may be a risk. It is above all an additional reason for the opposition to unite as widely as possible in order to face it and not to give way to such a scenario. We must also be credible on the regional, continental and international scene.
This scenario would necessarily involve a period of transition …
How would you see this transition?
The ideal would be to have a president over the melee. A president who knows that he will not be able to run for the presidency he is organizing. We also need a credible government that works to send a message of hope to the people quickly. There are things that can be done quickly to improve the daily life of the Congolese. But we must not rush. A one-year transition does not seem excessive. The Central African Republic wanted to go very quickly, look at the result. If the transition power works, if things are clear to everyone, we can take a little longer to organize the rest. The union that must set itself up to drive out Kabila and manage the transition must be confirmed in the post-transition period. It takes a big party. Not a single party but a great formation capable of giving the necessary impetus to the restart of the country. We’re working on it for now.
Who would be your ideal candidate?
For the transition, the clergy could play a prominent role. For the post-transition period, it is necessary that this great party that I call of my vows can designate its champion, its most popular candidate. We also need a program to revive our country. And in order to implement this program, the government must have a real popular base and in Parliament, so we need this big party. We can not continue with 500 parties. But there must also be a real opposition.