Because of the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Firm helped Christian Malanga and leaders of the United Congolese Party (UCP) to draft the Charter of the UCP and develop strategic plans in order to help them formally and publicly invoke their sovereignty, take responsibility for their own destiny, create their own transformative political solution, and show the leaders of Africa and the world how to get a process going that is truly democratizing, that opens things up, gives the People a voice and enables them to achieve a legitimate, transparent and accountable government.
The Situation (as of 2013)
Simply put, the DRC is a tragic mess. The natural resources and mineral wealth of the Congo make the Republic potentially the richest country in the world, yet it consistently ranks at or near the bottom in all global indexes, including:
- In the United Nations Human Development Report and its 2014 Human Development Index, the DRC is ranked 186 out of 187;
- In the Heritage Foundation 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, the DRC is ranked 172 out of 178;
- In the World Bank Group’s 2013 Ease of Doing Business Index, the DRC is ranked 183 out of 189; and
- In the Gallup-Healthways 2013 Global Well-Being Index, the DRC ranks ahead of only Syria, Afghanistan and Haiti.
Consider the views of the Congolese People. From the Charter of the UCP:
- The history of the current President of the Republic and his government is a history of rampant corruption and repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over the Congolese People;
- The Republic has been racked by war and conflicts fueled by competing armies and warlords, the pillage and plundering of its natural resources by armed groups, the illicit trafficking of these plundered resources, and the exploitation and slavery associated with trade in its conflict minerals;
- The Congolese People currently live under a politico-military foreign occupation that has driven them down and keeps them in a condition of servitude to a bloody dictatorship or competing armies;
- The ongoing war in the Republic has been called the “Great War of Africa,” is said to be the deadliest war in modern African history, and has directly involved nine African nations and about 20 armed groups;
- It has been reported that the genocide or holocaust in Central Africa has claimed some 6-10 million lives in the Republic since 1996, with 1,500 people dying every day;
- The UN Security Council used such estimates to put together a 20,000 troops-strong peacekeeping mission for the Republic, the largest such operation in the world;
- Tens of thousands of children have been forced to fight as soldiers in the war and conflicts, and the Republic has one of the highest rates of child soldiers in the world;
- Millions of the Congolese People have been displaced from their homes;
- The UN has called the Republic the center of rape as a weapon of war, and commentators have described the Congo as the worst place on Earth to be a woman;
- Recent studies found that sexual violence is rampant not only in conflict areas but also in the home, with nearly one woman subjected to some form of sexual abuse every minute;
- Such studies found that as many as 1,152 Congolese women are raped every day, a rate equal to 48 per hour, and up to 433,785 in a one-year period;
- Experts have stated that 40 years of “steady economic and political decline” may explain the high incidence of rape in the Republic;
- This steady economic and political decline has also resulted in mass illiteracy and unemployment, forced and compulsory labor, and cruel and inhumane treatment;
- The mineral wealth of the Congo makes the Republic potentially the best place in the world to do business, yet it consistently ranks at the bottom and so the list of legitimate international business actors that are actually in the Congo doing business is remarkably short;
- There are a tiny number of jobs available with legitimate businesses and organizations, and there are millions and millions of people trying to figure out how to eat every day;
- More than 71 percent of the Congolese People live under the poverty line, and the average income for Congolese citizens is between $95-161 per year, depending on the source;
- Meanwhile, the President of the Republic and leaders of his government cut secret deals with foreign businessmen and cartels, giving them monopolies and exclusive rights to Congolese minerals, allowing them all – including the President and his ministers – to share billions of dollars in unjust profits every year;
- Strikes and protests are routinely crushed, workers are shot or summarily executed, and vocal opposition and trade union organizers are arbitrarily arrested, detained and tortured;
- Despite reports to the contrary, the situation is far from improving;
- There is no independent election commission and the last national elections were so flawed and the results so compromised, we do not know who really won;
- There have been neither provincial nor local elections;
- The Congolese People cannot say we have a duly elected president and government, and there are no mechanisms for democratic elections and institutions;
- This latest political legitimacy crisis has resulted in renewed violence and continuing human rights violations;
- The illegitimate president has neither the power nor the moral authority to bring order to the country, and lacks the political will to implement democratic elections and institutions;
- The president and his advisers and ministers lack the political will because of their vested interest in their corrupt, patrimonial system of predatory rule; and
- The Republic’s problems are basically political and the Congolese People have no voice.
The Root Cause
The core problems in the DRC are political. There has been an utter lack of good governance. And the root cause is the current president of the DRC, Joseph Kabila.
Kabila is not in office to serve the Congolese People, the DRC, the common good, anyone or anything else. Rather, he is in office to serve his own interests: to consolidate as much power in himself and his executive office, and to “make” as much money as possible. In fact, he is as greedy and selfish as any of the worst dictators in history, and his government is corrupt to its core and destructive not only to the Congolese People but to the international community.
And from MailOnline on 5 August 2014:
Kabila stands out as a strongman’s strongman, even compared to other premiers who rose to power in the shadow of epic bloodbaths. It’s taken 20,000 United Nations troops, the largest multinational peacekeeping force in the organization’s history, to keep some semblance of order.
Estimates of the dead from two wars in two decades range up to 5.4 million, spanning Kabila’s rule and that of his father Laurent Kabila.
Following the elder Kabila’s assassination in 2001, his son took over at age 30 as the youngest head of state in the world.
Assuming control was a natural step for Joseph: He played a featured role in the rebellion that brought his father, then a Rwandan rebel leader, to power in the Congo.
In 1994 the world’s outrage was focused on eastern Africa, where Congolese militias from the Hutu ethnic group massacred Rwandans from the Tutsi tribe by the hundreds of thousands during a 100-day campaign of terror.
When Rwanda’s Tutsi majority retaliated, Laurent Kabila took charge and toppled Zaire’s dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, renaming the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Joseph Kabila led a significant part of his army, brigades of ‘children soldiers’ populated by thousands of ‘kadogos,’ conscripted boys…
The violence has never stopped, and some of it has extended to Kabila’s domestic watchdogs…
Clashes between national armies and flagless militias in the eastern Congo have left more than dead bodies in their wake: Nearly 3 million Congolese were displaced from their homes by tribal violence last year alone.
More than 60 percent of the nation’s people live on less than $1 per day.
But the Congo holds an estimated $24 trillion in natural riches beneath its soil. Most of the country’s conflicts are over those minerals, which armed groups sell to finance the purchase of more weapons and ammunition.
Homicidal warlords aren’t the only destabilizing forces diverting resources one mine at a time.
Forbes reported in June that Kabila has himself looted $15 billion from his country and stashed it in offshore accounts…
Kabila… ‘has sold vast mining assets at knock down prices to various off-shore “shell” companies’ controlled by a longtime friend.
‘Look, we all know how this works,’ an official with a multinational NGO told MailOnline on Sunday, on the condition that his name be withheld. ‘These guys have known each other for 25 years. Whenever Kabila rides off into the sunset, a massive cut of that money will be waiting for him.’…
Today the Congo is what the UN’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallström says is the ‘rape capital of the world.’
Under Kabila, the Congo’s rape culture has swelled.
In 2011 an American Journal of Public Health study found that the attacks had reached the rate of 48 per hour – more than 1,000 rapes per day – in a country whose population is barely one-fifth of America’s…
Kabila’s 2011 re-election, his second ballot victory in five years, is another sore spot.
Voting that year was plagued with corruption so widespread that reports surfaced of phony polling places erected to confuse Kabila’s opponents. Others reported results without having any ballots to count.
Vital Kamerhe, who ran against Kabila that year, was speaker of the national assembly until he resigned in 2009 because of fears, he told U.S. diplomats, that Kabila would have him harmed or killed… re-emerging in 2011 as a presidential candidate.
Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, noted in 2012 in The New York Times that those 2011 elections ‘were criticized by everyone from the European Union to the country’s Roman Catholic bishops.’
He told MailOnline on Monday that Kabila’s ‘electoral mandate is of an exceptionally dubious nature.’
More criticism will likely come if opposition leaders are correctly forecasting Kabila’s next move. They say he aims to remain in power past 2016, when his country’s constitution says he must step down…
A U.S. State Department official told MailOnline on Sunday that any vote that contemplates keeping Kabila in power past 2016 ‘would likely be just as corrupt as the 2011 election.’
That official also said some in Kabila’s government want to scrap popular-vote elections in favor of letting regional assemblies choose presidents, a system ‘that’s far more susceptible to corruption, violence and bribery.’
‘At that point, their constitution is not worth the paper it’s printed on,’ he said…
Kabila seems to drop hint after hint that the word ‘democracy’ has lost something in translation from his native Swahili.
In central Africa, he wrote in his pre-conference statement last week, governing requires ‘parameters that are not transposable from one continent to another or from one country to another.’
He even quoted what he called ‘realistic remarks’ from the U.S. president during a July 2012 press conference, when he said Africans must ‘build their own model of democracy.’
- Christian Malanga created the UNITED CONGOLESE PARTY (“the UCP”) in order to most effectively participate in the expression of the popular will, strengthen the national conscience and civic education, and democratize the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
- On 30 June 2013, Malanga, fellow political exiles and others who escaped from predatory rule and/or persecution during different periods of the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, met in the diaspora in order to solemnly proclaim the Charter of the UCP (“the Charter”), including a Declaration that:
- The Congolese People are Sovereigns, not subjects, servants or slaves.
- As Sovereigns, they want a president and government that will stay within the strict confines of their constitution. Sadly, they do not currently have such a president or government. Instead, they have suffered a long train of abuses and usurpations that, pursuing invariably the same object, have reduced them under absolute despotism.
- As Sovereigns, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. They have the right to alter or abolish their government when it becomes destructive of its ends, and to establish a new government, laying its foundations on such principles as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.
- As Sovereigns, this is what they set out to accomplish.
- The Charter states that the goal of the UCP is to ensure:
- The ultimate sovereignty of the Congolese People is systematically applied in its fullest implications:
- The Congolese People responsibly exercise their sovereignty over governments and institutions;
- Governments and institutions responsibly:
- Serve the Congolese People and operate on the consent of the governed;
- Stick to the true guiding principles of classical liberalism and republicanism;
- Remain good, honest, ethical and safe;
- Protect and defend the Congolese People, the country and its territorial integrity;
- Fundamental rights and freedoms are secured for everyone; and
- The Republic is socially, economically and politically stronger than ever, and the Congolese People are safe, secure, prosperous and happy.
- The ultimate sovereignty of the Congolese People is systematically applied in its fullest implications:
- The purpose of the UCP is to utilize the new media technologies to accomplish several things, including a political transformation – to inspire and prepare the Congolese People and leaders of the UCP and other parties for the imminent transition to a true republican democracy; develop and execute a campaign to democratize the Republic; train members of political parties and legislative bodies; build an alternative political leadership that will be accountable to the People; help this leadership implement a program capable of meeting the needs and expectations of the People, and move from opposition to power.
- Malanga and the leaders of the UCP believe the world is indebted to America, for it was in America that transformative conceptions and principles were first reduced to practice, exemplified, and their utility and practicability first established. As Frederick Douglass said in his Dred Scott speech:
The Constitution, as well as the Declaration of Independence, and the sentiments of the founders of the Republic, give us a plat-form broad enough, and strong enough, to support the most comprehensive plans for the freedom and elevation of all the people of this country, without regard to color, class, or clime.
- They now plan to utilize this same broad platform to support the most comprehensive plans for the freedom and elevation of the Congolese People, starting in the diaspora and working their way back into their country. Just as the Americans did before them, the People of the Congo now plan to rise from obscurity and defend the battlements of liberty.
- In this direction, Malanga and his fellow leaders of the UCP circulated the Charter and have succeeded in building the UCP into a popular movement that is supported by an ever-increasing number of people of good will, not only in the Congo but in Africa and around the world.
- Further, Malanga and his fellow leaders of the UCP launched and are now executing the Campaign to Democratize the DRC – Put the “D” in DRC (“the Campaign”).
- Over the last year, they:
- Formed an informal exploratory committee that has been speaking and listening to the Congolese People in the diaspora and, as much as possible inside the Congo;
- Learned what the People need and want in and from a political party, a government in exile, and a true republican democracy;
- Used the feedback and inputs of the People to develop and evolve a Strategic Plan, which shows the way to a true republican democracy; and
- Brought leaders of the Congolese diaspora (15 million strong) outside the DRC and opposition parties inside the DRC into the UCP platform.
- The Campaign is democratizing – it will open things up and not only give the Congolese People a voice but their sovereignty.
- So this is a campaign of the People, by the People, and for the People.