Congo: Return Of The Kings

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March 31, 2021: In February Congo got a new prime minister, Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde. However, when parliament convened in mid-March, Lukonde had not yet selected a cabinet and formed a new government. For many observers that confirmed the obvious -- President Felix Tshisekedi’s new Sacred Union political coalition is still organizing, which means it is disorganized, factional leaders are arguing and the Sacred Union coalition is vulnerable to violent enemies like former President Joseph Kabila. But at the moment the God of Disorganization is kind. Kabila and his cohort appear to be even more vulnerable to both international pressure and Congolese law enforcement, in the form of murder charges and sanctions. A Congolese court has issued an arrest warrant for General John Numbi, a Kabila supporter who is reportedly hiding in Zimbabwe. Numbi is accused of ordering the 2010 assassination of war crimes researcher Floribert Chebeya. In 2010 Numbi was the Inspector General of the Congo’s National Police, one of the country’s two most important internal security organizations. Kabila ignored the accusations of murder and in 2018 appointed Numbi Inspector General of the Armed Forces. Tshisekedi, a different kind of president, fired Numbi in July 2020. Congolese prosecutors claim Numbi fled to Zimbabwe around March 15 and is being protected by Zimbabwean authorities. Zimbabwe’s government says it doesn’t know anything. Understand that Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is a friend and supporter of Kabila. There are other complications, a veritable nuclear warhead/Wuhan virus rat-hornet nest intrigue. A starter: The U.S. has placed individual sanctions on Mnangagwa. Allegedly he was part of a group of Congolese and Zimbabwean officials who looted Congolese minerals during The Great Congo War (1998-2003).

More: this month Congolese police arrested Belarusian businessman and mineral wheeler-dealer Alexander Zingman, a friend of Kabila’s and Mnangagwa’s. Zingman is Zimbabwe’s honorary consul to Belarus. He was arrested after meeting with Kabila in Lubumbashi. the capital of Katanga province. Finally: Protais Mpiranya, a Kabila supporter and former Congolese Presidential Guard officer, is also believed to be hiding out somewhere in Zimbabwe. Mprianya is wanted for war crimes. In Congo, the complications keep on coming. (Austin Bay)

March 28, 2021: Over one-third of Zambia’s national debt is owed to China, which has provided loans and investments in virtually every sector of Zambia’s economy – agriculture, industry and, of course mining. This week Angola thanked China for donating the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. An Angola government official noted that China is the first country to provide Covid-19 vaccine aid to Angola. The official did not mention that China is likely the source of the epidemic outbreak.

March 27, 2021: Burundian and Egyptian officials met to discuss Egypt’s plan to build rainwater reservoirs and “harvesting dams” in the Nile River Basin. The payoff to Burundi would be more clean drinking water. Egypt intends to use solar energy, where applicable, to power wells and water purification facilities.

March 26, 2021: The UN reported the security in the Central African Republic continues to deteriorate. Between October 2020 and mid-March 2021, armed clashes occurred in fourteen (of 16) CAR prefectures. The worst violence occurred in three western prefectures: Ouham, Ouaka and Ombella M’Poko.

March 25, 2021: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) at least 17 people were killed in attacks on three rural villages by ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) Islamic terrorists.

March 24, 2021: The electoral commission of the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) announced incumbent President Denis Sassou Nguesso was re-elected with 88 percent of the vote. Nguesso is 77 and has been in power 36 years. The main opposition party, the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (PAUSD), boycotted the election.

March 23, 2021: Ugandan police have arrested Guy Smith, an American citizen accused of “subversive activities.”

March 22, 2021: Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas, the leading opposition politician in The Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) has died while being taken to France to be treated for the Covid-19/Wuhan virus.

March 21, 2021: In CAR (Central African Republic) CPC (Coalition of Patriots for Change) rebels announced former CAR president Francois Bozize now leads their group. The CPC is the largest rebel coalition in the CAR. Bozize was an unpopular dictator who was overthrown in 2013 and fled the country. He returned in 2019 and rallied his followers to disrupt and discredit the elected government and elections in general. The CAR Constitutional Court ruled that former president Bozize could not run for office again. The court had good reasons. In 2003 Bozize seized power by coup d’etat. He currently faces allegations of ordering murder, kidnapping and torture when he held power. He also faces UN sanctions. Witnesses report that after the court ruling Bozize met with the leaders of six armed factions to form a pro-Bozize coalition which included a former Seleka Moslem faction and two anti-balaka (predominantly Christian) armed groups. The CAR government is accusing Bozize of trying to destabilize the country.

March 19, 2021: Burundi's Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported it has verified the existence of 68 mass graves from the 1972 genocide. So far, the bodies of 1,455 victims have been exhumed. So far this year the ADF has killed over 200 people in eastern Congo and displaced 40,000 people.

March 15, 2021: Congo’s new parliamentary holds its first session.

March 14, 2021: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province, east of the city of Beni) ADF rebels armed with machetes killed 15 people during an attack on a village. These attacks are usually part of a looting operation to gather supplies for a nearby rebel camp.

March 12, 2021: Local reformers condemned Uganda’s government for abducting and illegally detaining political opposition leaders and supporters.

The UN approved an increase of 3,700 military troops and armed police to CAR peacekeeping force. The vote was 14-0, with Russia abstaining. The CAR force is now authorized 14,400 military personnel and 3,020 police.

March 11, 2021: The United States officially designated the ADF Islamist rebels a “foreign terrorist organization.” The Americans believe the ADF IS linked to ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). The ADF is sometimes referred to as “ISIL-DRC.”

March 9, 2021: International anti-corruption groups are urging the Congolese government to lift the death sentences given to two whistleblower witnesses who provided critical evidence against corrupt bank officials and regulators engaged in money laundering.

 

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