Okello Oculi writes that like Nigeria, the outcome of the elections in Congo may be determined by the courts

 Social Media could claim that Nigeria’s lawyers and election tribunal judges are scrambling for payment in gold bars by candidates who have lost elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A total of 18 candidates must miss the presidency while over 500 seats are contested for.

In 1960 Belgian intelligence operatives encouraged hundreds of candidates from each ethnic group to stop a nation-wide victory by Patrice Lumumba’s party. The British had been overwhelmed by Mahatma Ghandi and Kwame Nkrumah riding triumphant in India and Ghana, respectively. Colonial officials would not be beaten again.

Lumumba also committed the crime of threatening to invite military support from communist Soviet Union (USSR) while Euro-American companies were hungry for his country’s numerous natural resources. Professor Cheik Anta Diop affirmed that American military agents hauled away soil from a hill known to contain uranium ore to ensure that it would never fall to communist USSR.

In the eve of the 2023 elections, incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi took his country into membership of the East African Community, consisting of Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and
Kenya. This created the second country after South Africa to have borders on both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. For France this was another deep wound to ‘’Francophone’’ colonial fraternity.

Belgian intervention against Lumumba winning a national electoral mandate, was followed by inciting a military mutiny; a plunge into secession by mineral-rich Katanga Province; the assassination of Lumumba and the ascendancy of Joseph Desire Mobutu onto a ladder for a military presidency over the whole country.

From 1965 to 1997 Mobutu struggled to build a united nation.  With the collapse of the Soviet Union, his former Euro-American supporters used troops from Uganda and Rwanda to support Laurent Kabila to defeat and drive him into death in exile. The ritual of promoting military conflict in Congo to enable outside interests to exploit the country’s resources, was resumed and continued unto the 2023 elections.

 A United Nations Committee reported that over 385 multinational companies were supplying military weapons to militias inside the country in exchange for resources ranging from coffee, uranium, cobalt, wood to gold without being answerable to the national government. By 2020, over 121 groups were terrorising communities in mineral-rich villages in Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Katanga region.

Candidate Martin Fayulu (whom the Catholic Church claimed to have won the 2018 election with a landslide), urged his supporters to ‘’no longer accept someone stealing their victory’’. The 19 candidates for the presidency demonstrated on the streets of Kinshasa and called for a new election. European Union diplomats were bitter for not being


permitted to use satellite technology inside the country for monitoring voting.

In 1960, the election was contested by a triumvirate of: Patrice Lumumba (from hinterland Batetela people); Joseph Kasavubu (representing the ethnic nationalism of the Bakongo around the capital Kinshasa and the coastal boundaries of Ancient Congo Kingdom), and Joseph Tshombe from copper-rich Katanga province.

Lumumba as a trade union leader from among Post Office employees, had a wide territorial experience. Kasavubu was ethnic-based and located in the far west of a vast country. Tshombe was promoted by expatriate interests who were associated with racist European immigrants in Southern Africa who were afraid of losing their privileges to African nationalism.

In the 2023 elections, similar conflictual pulls were at play. Moise Fayulu, a rich businessman has his base in Kinshasa; Dennis Mukwege (winner of 2018 Nobel Peace Prize) and Felix Tshisekedi are from the hinterland, while Moise Katumbi is from Katanga’s mineral wealth business class. Tshisekedi has the advantage of inheriting the legacy of a nationally celebrated father who challenged the dictatorship of Mobutu.

Katumbi harvested supporters of four persons who withdrew from the contest in his favour, including Matata Ponyo-Mapon who served as prime minister from 2012 to 2016. Tshisekedi may have earned supporters of three withdrawals in his favour. Mukwege enjoyed the sunshine of national pride for winning a valued laurel; as well as claims

that he took refuge in Sweden to escape possible assassination by killers directed from Rwanda

Hunters for ‘election gold’ from Nigeria’s legal mafia may find resorting to guns and bullets more attractive to Congo’s politicians repeatedly accused of hiring militias for ‘’blood minerals’’. Pressure on Nigeria’s diplomats in Kinshasa may yield a culture of reliance on courts. With a rich legacy of luring clients to pour huge fees into dead election petitions, Nigeria’s legal diamond hunters could benefit from appeals by NOLLYWOOD’s movies and Fela’s music to invade Congo with ‘legal engineering’ of ‘election waste materials’.

 Morbid fears by Euro-American companies of Russia’s Putin voting in Congo’s election (if losers turn to violence), could yield vital allies for a Nigerian legal industry inside Congo’s courts.

Oculi writes from Abuja

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