The Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) Independent National Electoral Commission announced on the 10th of January, as a provisional result, that Felix Tshisekedi—leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress party—had won the Presidency, outpolling current President Joseph Kabila’s preferred candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.
However in a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting three days ago, Russia, China, and South Africa lined up against the 1884 Berlin Conference clique made up of the United States, Britain, France, Belgium and Germany, who disputed the outcomes of the electoral results and requested the UNSC to submit electoral data from DRC polling stations.
This election, so far, has been the first transfer of power in DRC from one party to another without violence. The imperial powers have been meddling in elections in the DRC, with the aid of violence, ever since they fostered violence to provide cover for the execution in 1961 of Patrice Lumumba, prime minister in the first democratically elected government of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Captivatingly, the uproar by Western powers on the election results in the DRC is about a third candidate, Martin Fayulu. Fayulu is a former oil company executive at ExxonMobil educated in France and the United States. The French and Belgian media (echoed in Britain) and the powerful DRC Catholic Church, which had deployed almost 40,000 electoral observers denounced the result, implying that Fayulu had been the winner, the DRC Bishops’ Conference went so far as to say, “We know who the winner was,” without naming Fayulu.
The DRC—one of the richest countries in the world if not the richest country in the world endowed with a rich storehouse of strategic minerals with an estimated wealth of $24 trillion deposits, of raw mineral ores, including the world’s largest reserves of cobalt and significant quantities of the world’s diamonds, gold, coltan, manganese, uranium, and oil has been largely “owned” by Europeans and Americans, under the British/France and Belgian imperial umbrella. Therefore what interest and moral authority does the United States, Britain, France, Belgium and Germany have on issues to do with democracy, social justice, equality, economic emancipation in the DRC that it can make such a request to the UN Security Council when their involvement in the DRC has been signified by wars and injustices? The other painful reality is that Western Powers have gotten used to making decisions on behalf of Africa and Africans and thus become despondent and untrusting when Africans democratically decide for themselves.
The relationship between the Democratic Republic of Congo and its former colonial masters has been chauvinistic, unjust and oppressive and it is time that the people of the DRC and other Francophone countries in the continent break the umbilical cord that has linked and sustained Western economies through the France colonial-era trade agreements which according to Mamadou Koulibaly , the Speaker of the Ivorian National Assembly and Professor of Economics, “undermines and sabotages growth, industrialisation, autonomy and policy independence of this countries”, which for decades have been ravaged by war and famine.
With all its minerals, The DRC can no longer be depicted as mere recipient of financial aid dependent on the West, the DRC must break away from the ecclesiastic deficiency of The West and its institutions which has consistently and consciously stolen from Africa to build the West without giving back. The raw material of the Democratic Republic of Congo has built the wealth of France, Britain, Belgium and America. Its cobalt, raw mineral ores and oil continue to sustain Europe and the United States of America whilst the children of Congo are at war with each other, ravaged by poverty and degradation.
The head of the DRC electoral commission, Corneille Nangaa Yobeluo, has already indicated that he has no authority to give the electoral data to anyone except the DRC Constitutional Court which would consider any legal challenges, whilst Russia, China, and South Africa have according to the United Nations Press release indicated that the conclusions of the electoral commission should be respected and that the commission should not be pressured or interfered with.
Let all well-meaning and progressive African’s support democracy and President Felix Tshisekedi who has a monumental task of implementing home-grown African and Congolese’s ideas about governance, leadership and the economy. Is it not time that the United States, Britain, France, Belgium and Germany repent from their colonial mentality and allow Africa and her children to govern themselves and make mistakes without any interference premised on false generosity?
Phapano Phasha is the Chairperson of Non Governmental Organisation Anti Poverty Forum.