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Cablegate: Gizenga Addresses Drc National Assembly

VZCZCXRO6313
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0226 0541524
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231524Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5663
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000226

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM KJUS CG
SUBJECT: GIZENGA ADDRESSES DRC NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

REF: KINSHASA 199

1. (SBU) Summary. DRC Prime Minster-designate Gizenga
presented his government's program during a 75-minute address
to the National Assembly February 22. He called for a
re-foundation of the republic and emphasized justice and good
governance as the two essential conditions for achieving
this. Gizenga and other ministers will answer deputies'
questions regarding the program February 24 and could take
their oaths of office the same day. His nationally-televised
performance should help establish his place in a government
where the chief of state remains a reluctant public presence.
End comment.

2. (U) Prime Minister-designate Antoine Gizenga presented
the 59 members of his government and their five-year program
to the DRC National Assembly during a marathon public session
lasting well into the evening of February 22. The 81-year
old Gizenga addressed the deputies for 75 minutes in the late
morning, then listened with his ministers as deputies
representing the Assembly's 12 political groupings took the
floor until 8 p.m. to issue statements in support or
opposition and to pose questions regarding the program's
details. The session was televised live throughout the
country.

3. (U) Gizenga and his ministers are scheduled to provide
answers to these questions in a follow-up session February
24. The Assembly is then expected to approve the program.
The governing coalition holds a majority of the Assembly's
500 seats and no one anticipates a different outcome. Time
allowing, the ministers will then take their official oaths
of office.

4. (U) Much as he had February 16 at the Presidency
(reftel), Gizenga in his speech called for a re-foundation of
the republic. He pointed to justice and good governance as
the two essential conditions to achieving this. To make his
point, he echoed one of the most famous quotations of the
troubled period that followed independence. "Without justice
and good governance, after elections will be the same as
before elections." This was an apparent reference to the
independence-era Belgian police head's assertion that "After
Independence equals Before Independence," which led to mutiny.

5. (U) Gizenga was interrupted many times by applause in
response to such statements as "no one will be above the
law;" "justice should guide all our actions;" "positive as
well as negative sanctions should be imposed for any
misbehavior;" "communication networks should be developed;"
"school and academic years should last nine months and not
more or less as has been the case;" "universal primary
education should be required;" "the government will fight
unemployment;" and "the Democratic Republic of the Congo
should not be like a jungle where only tall trees benefit
from the rain and the sun ... it must be like a garden where
all plants have the same chance of nourishment."

6. (U) Reactions varied predictably along party lines.
Deputies from parties of the governing coalition praised the
program for its continuity, particularly with the
previously-agreed poverty reduction strategy. Opposition
deputies criticized it for its lack of ambition and
specificity. Statements by Kiakwama kia Kizidi of the
opposition Christian Democrats were fairly typical: "There
is nothing to expect from this program because the prime
minister did not present anything concrete that will end the
misery of the Congolese people." Kiakwama said he expected
Gizenga to say "how long it will take to bring security to
the country, or to know the number of FARDC troops."

7. (U) The audience was full of supporters of government
deputies, including singers, groups in traditional dress,
sympathizers and others brought in to applaud their
statements.

8. (SBU) Comment. This was Gizenga's first extended public
statement since being nominated as prime minister. Several
procedural motions by opposition deputies early in the
session appeared aimed at throwing off his presentation, but
failed to unsettle him. Gizenga looked serene throughout.
His performance helps establish Gizenga as the recognized
head of government, although it remains to be seen how power
relationships will in fact work in the new DRC government
structure. End comment.
MEECE

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