Nothing goes in the party of Felix Tshisekedi : the Union for democracy and social progress (UDPS). And it lasts for long months. Considered as the flagship of the opposition in the democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the party co-founded clandestinely by the late Etienne Tshisekedi is in the heart of the storm, due to the non-application of certain provisions laid down by the statutes of the party after the election of Félix Tshisekedi as head of the country in January 2019. This is the article 26 of the text which governs the internal life of the party, which is being challenged by its most senior executives. At the heart of all quarrels and political dealings : Jean-Marc Kabund-a-Kabund.
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" article 26 ", in the heart of a war of the clans
it All starts just after the proclamation of Felix Tshisekedi by the national electoral Commission independent (Ceni) as the winner of the elections of December 2018. In accordance with article 96 of the current Constitution of the country, which prohibits the head of State to exercise functions of chief executive officer of a political party, Félix Tshisekedi is found in the requirement to renounce the presidency of the UDPS, inherited from his late father and iconic opponent Etienne Tshisekedi, who died in February 2017. Two days before his swearing-in, Felix Tshisekedi has signed a special mandate to appoint Jean-Marc Kabund, then secretary general of the party to the presidency of this training, " for the purpose of ensuring its interim until the end of his / her unavailability ".
however, for the small history, the statutes of this party, written in the 1980s, in a context of dictatorship under Mobutu years and modified by Etienne Tshisekedi in 2013, shall provide, in its article 26, that in the event of a " resignation, incapacity, final, expiry of mandate or prohibition to exercise the party's president, a board of directors, assumes his interim for a period not exceeding 30 days, in the course of which it is obliged to convene an extraordinary session of the Congress for the election of a new chairman of the party ". For some members of the party, the" impediment " of Félix Tshisekedi is well and truly final, since his mandate at the head of the UDPS would have expired before the end of his mandate as head of State.
" I've always said that it is the president, Félix Tshisekedi, who opened the breach, and it is this that explains his silence an accomplice today ", said Jean Kalala, UDPS militant.
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The "legalists" in the face of the "usurpers or putschists"
the confrontation, emerged the two great currents which clash within the UDPS, the "legalists" and the " usurpers ". On the one hand, the current "legalistic" played by Victor Wakenda and Jacquemin Shabani, respectively the president of the Convention of the democratic Party (CDP) and chairman of the electoral Commission permanent (CEP). They believe themselves to be on the side of legality and law, and are thus supposed, according to the spirit and the letter of the statutes of the party, leading to the famous board with the secretary-general.
on the other hand, the current so-called " usurpers ", incarnated by the powerful president of the party Jean-Marc Kabund and its affidé acting secretary-general Augustin Kabuya. This last stream has significant support on the part of the activists due to the firmness shown by the history of the party towards the regime of the former incumbent president Joseph Kabila.
The tandem Kabund and Kabuya rebuked the legalists who misinterpret the text : "Those who brandish the article 26, it may be due to ignorance. This article is indicated in a specific context, that the president is unable or disappearance. However, at the current stage, the head of State is not prevented decisively. We cannot delight that the conference had given him ", ruled Augustin Kabuya, in front of a crowd of activists during a morning political in Kinshasa.
That position is broadly supported by some party activists. "For the time being, the UDPS did not need to tear on its own texts, but it needs to organize, to implement, rather than thinking about the organization of another congress, budgétivore it is, after march 30, 2018 which resulted in the election of Félix Tshisekedi as president of the party, succeeding his deceased father," said Hervé Kabeya, motorcyclist and a supporter of the party.
Of the rest, Christian Mutombo, a lawyer and close to the ruling party, does not share this reading of the facts. For this lawyer, the implementation of article 26 in its entirety would help the party to lead by example in regards to its commitment to democracy and the rule of law for which it has fought nearly a quarter of a century : "The articles of association of the UDPS had not, of course, provided an alternative in the case where the president of the UDPS would be elected ", he says.
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The standoff is continuing at the national Assembly
This long and compromising arm of iron between the two trends crossed the internal framework of the party to move towards the institutions of the State. The divisions recently observed after the removal, shattering the party's president, Jean-Marc Kabund, the position of the first vice-president of the national Assembly, were thrown once more discredit on this great political party.
A small flashback to explain the reasons for the impeachment sword-first vice-president of the Assemblée nationale congolaise is worth its weight in gold. In fact, on the 24th of march last, the president, Félix Tshisekedi has declared a state of sanitary emergency to limit the spread of the Covid 19. According to the president of the Senate, " Alexis Tambwe, a state of emergency should be regularised by the holding of a congress (national Assembly and Senate). In the aftermath, the vice-president of the Assembly and also president of the UDPS, on a note on the disputed Félix Tshisekedi, is immediately mounted at the opportunity to lambast the organization of this assembly, referring to its cost of $ 7 million.
The allegations, which have shocked the sensibility of his colleague Jean-Jacques Mamba, elected in Kinshasa on the list of the Mouvement de libération du Congo of Jean-Pierre Bemba. The latter has demanded explanation from Jean-Marc Kabund, and has launched a petition that has led to the removal of the latter from his position as vice-president of the national Assembly, by 289 members of parliament on the 315 present during the session stormy on the 25th may.
" The passage in force of FCC [common Front for the Congo, Joseph Kabila, ED.] is the proof that the conspiracy was hatched and goes beyond my removal. In true tshisekediste, I resigned from this position, head high and without compromise, " responded the question on Twitter. In fact, with this dismissal, the congolese president loses a major asset to the office, a room dominated by the common Front for the Congo, the coalition of Joseph Kabila, with whom he shares power.
Since then, a war of succession is open to appoint a successor. In a statement made public on may 28, in Kinshasa, UDPS and its secretary-general Augustin Kabuya have " deemed inappropriate to appoint another candidate from among the mps elected on its list, replacing Jean-Marc Kabund to the position of first vice-president of the national Assembly ". As a result, adds to the statement, the UDPS warns that all elected on his list, which would violate this resolution above will be considered to have deliberately left the party.
Taking the opposite of this press release, the executive board of the party composed by the duo of Wakenda and Shabani (the legalists, ED) took note of the resignation of Kabund of this post and has invited the parliamentary group UDPS and allies to make "concrete proposals, objective and transparent and balanced" to replace Jean-Marc Kabund. They have, moreover, argued that this "position is highly strategic due to the UDPS" and " can in no way be lost by the party as a result of the reactions inspired by the emotion ".
This position has been strongly reinforced by the reaction of the friendly professor of law and member of UDPS André Mbata, who thinks that the " post of the vice-president of the national Assembly is reserved for the UDPS, not to any individual who would like a providential man ". Continuing, the professor Mbata pointed out that " the deputies of the UDPS remain faithful to the party and the president of the Republic, but in no case obey the putschists ".
there are currently not to point the finger at the complicit silence of Félix Tshisekedi. The latter is invited to break his silence to remobilize the troops in view of the upcoming general elections. The opponent Moses Katumbi involved in his last intervention in the media, recalling that the " balance of 2019-2023, it is a balance sheet of the UDPS and not the coalition ". At this pace, some knowledgeable observers are predicting the decadence, all the best the fall of the UDPS, as was the case of the party Lumbiste unified, Palu, fire, patriarch Antoine Gizenga, who had also made an alliance with Kabila in the same context as the UDPS.
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