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DRC – Félix Tshisekedi: two years to convince

After a year marked by the breakdown of his alliance with Joseph Kabila, Félix Tshisekedi will have to expand his action if he wants to be reelected.

For Felix Tshisekedi, 2021 will have been the year of emancipation. After two years of laborious cohabitation with his predecessor, Joseph Kabila, he managed to overthrow the majority to his advantage. Since April 2021, it is with the government resulting from his new coalition, the Sacred Union for the Nation (USN), that the Congolese president has pursued a triple objective: to make up for the time lost by these two years of coalition; expand its economic, diplomatic and security record; and, above all, prepare to conquer the second term for which he has already declared himself a candidate. And the two years which separate him from the next electoral deadlines will be far from being a long quiet river. After months of controversy, Tshisekedi validated the new Ceni office at the end of October.

The work that awaits the team led by Denis Kadima seems titanic since the conductor must this year move forward on several projects, including the revision of the electoral roll used for the 2018 ballot and the financing of the elections. Tshisekedi has already requested help from the international community. But the latter, after sharing her concerns about the appointment of Ceni members, is increasingly worried about the holding of the elections on time. Kadima will also have to deal with an opposition gathered around the challenge of his office as well as with a suspicious and reassembled Catholic Church.

RD congo

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RD congo

The context in which the next elections will be prepared will allow us to know a little more about the real state of form of the Sacred Union. Moïse Katumbi, who had joined Tshisekedi’s new coalition to isolate Kabila, himself has ambitions and is increasingly asserting himself as one of the president’s opponents.

On the security front, Félix Tshisekedi placed, in May, the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu under the state of siege. DRC forces have been carrying out a joint operation with Uganda against the ADF since November 30 in North Kivu and Ituri. In their assessment report, the members of the National Assembly’s defense committee denounced the fact that “the proclamation of a state of siege was not underpinned by a planning of strategic actions”. According to Congolese elected officials, the massacres even intensified during this period. But Tshisekedi having made this measure one of those strong choices both vis-à-vis Congolese opinion and the diplomatic community, he has not yet planned to backtrack.

International challenges

In February, the Congolese president will complete his term as head of the African Union. Here again, the results are mixed. After wanting to stimulate a new mediation in the conflict between Egypt and Sudan against Ethiopia, the Congolese president has not managed to find a solution to this crisis. In August, he will take the head of another diplomatic organization: the SADC.

A summit should be organized in Kinshasa for the occasion. The Congolese president particularly wishes to take advantage of the post to push certain security issues, including the fight against armed groups in eastern DRC, knowing that some SADC member countries are already collaborating within the rapid intervention brigade of the DRC. Monusco.

The other file on which Félix Tshisekedi will be awaited is that of the economy. One of the successes recorded by the Congolese president in 2021 was to achieve the signing of a financing program of 1.5 billion dollars. An envelope that will make it possible to partially meet the significant budgetary needs of the government led by Sama Lukonde Kyenge.

During his general policy speech, the latter set at $ 36 billion the necessary budget until 2023. In addition, Félix Tshisekedi has before him another project supposed to make it possible to clean up the finances of the State: the renegotiation of several mining contracts signed under Kabila and deemed unfavorable to the State. Most are contracts with China. This initiative has the support of another DRC partner: the United States.

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