Truth Behind the Conflict Begins to Unfold
As Friends of the Congo reported in previous dispatches, reliable sources in Kinshasa had shared with us that on the Friday before the election results were announced, William Swing, the head of the United Nations Mission in the Congo (MONUC) and the Committee to Assist the Transition (CIAT), told Kabila he did not win the elections in the first round.
The plan was to have Kabila pass in the first round, however, the political opposition launched a last-minute campaign they called "Tout Sauf Kabila (TSK)" or anyone but Kabila. It is not so much that this campaign generated the necessary votes to prevent Kabila from obtaining a majority but rather it was the pressure that the campaign put on CIAT and the CEI making it clear that if Kabila won in the first round there would be widespread violence and the country would become ungovernable.
Kabila, to say the least was upset that he did not get the presidency in the first round. This triggered a number of events that few paid attention to and now is being reported by some newspapers. It went almost entirely unnoticed but the BBC reported that Kabila went on state television on the Sunday night that the election results were announced and said that he had won "a great victory."
La Libre Belgique (FRENCH), recently reported that Kabila's presidential guard unleashed rounds of gunfire from 6 pm to 11 pm on Sunday, August 20, 2006, all in an attempt to prevent the Electoral Commission from announcing results which Kabila knew in advance. The United Nations had to bring in 15 tanks to escort the president of the Electoral Commission, Malu Malu, to the television station so he could announce the results.
La Libre Belgique continued in its report to state that when Kabila's presidential guard fired on Bemba's house on the 21st of August, they knew in advance that Bemba would be meeting with foreign ambassadors and representatives of the security council.
The question that begs a clear response, is why the silence from the international community? Why is it that the United Nations, European Union or the United States have remained silent when their ambassadors and diplomats sustained heavy artillery fire for five hours? Moreover, why did Jean Pierre Bemba have to be put under United Nations protection? As reporters delve further into these questions the obvious answers will reveal themselves.
Representatives of Bemba and Kabila continue to negotiate a detente and a path to the second round of elections scheduled for October 29, 2006. Some of the conditions presented by both camps are quite revealing. Bemba would like his helicopter that was blown up by Kabila's presidential guard replaced. He also requested that his television stations that were illegal closed by Kabila be reopened. Finally, he requested that any meeting that occurs between the two men occur in neutral territory.
Kabila's requests were quite intriguing, first he requested that any meeting that occurs with Bemba, takes place at the president's office. In addition, he requested that the October 29th date scheduled for the second round be moved up sooner, presumably this would favor his campaign.
The situation is still very uncertain in the country. Arms shipment are coming into the country both for Kabila's presidential guard and Bemba's rebel forces. The CEI does not yet have the $46 million needed to fund a second round of elections. Again, there was no plan to have a second round. The entire organizing of the elections were meant to pass Kabila in the first round. Before the voting, Malu Malu pleaded with the Congolese people to be wise and mature and elect a president in the first round. The people were more wise and mature than Malu Malu gave them credit.