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Cablegate: Drc Supreme Court Closing Out Backlog of National

VZCZCXRO7133
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0275 0651457
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061457Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5732
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 000275

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM KJUS CG ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: DRC SUPREME COURT CLOSING OUT BACKLOG OF NATIONAL
ASSEMBLY ELECTION CHALLENGES

REF: A. KINSHASA 179

B. 06 KINSHASA 1714
C. KINSHASA 87
D. 05 KINSHASA 2168

1. Summary. The DRC Supreme Court is closing out the final
cases challenging the results of the July 30 National
Assembly elections. Several prominent names were included in
a group of decisions announced at the end of February. The
large number of cases highlights the necessity of electoral
as well as judicial reforms. End summary.

2. (U) Former trade minister Roger Lumbala, Presidential
aide Kikaya bin Karubi and veteran politician Cleophas
Kamitatu were among the prominent protagonists in recent
decisions by the DRC Supreme Court on a backlog of challenges
to the results of the July 30 National Assembly elections.
The Court had fallen behind on adjudicating numerous cases
filed during the September 8-11 challenge period (ref A), but
beginning on February 23, in the words of one press report,
"decisions began falling en masse." Only five cases
reportedly remained to be adjudicated as of March 2.

3. (U) Lumbala (RCD-N) and Kikaya (PPRD) were among five
candidates whose initial victories were restored by the Court
on reconsideration February 27. Radio Okapi reported that
the Court overturned its own earlier decisions invalidating
the election of Lumbala, Kikaya and three other candidates on
the grounds that none of the five had been informed of the
challenges and so had not appeared to respond to them.

4. (U) Roger Lumbala, whose rival Joseph Lumbala had earlier
and successfully argued that Roger Lumbala and several
associates had engaged in voter fraud (ref B), had in the
interim been elected to the senate from Eastern Kasai (ref
C). Lumbala told reporters March 1 that he intended to stay
in the Assembly and would resign from the Senate. "I chose
the National Assembly because that is where oversight of the
government is vested," he said. Lumbala had been dismissed
as a Transition government minister in November 2005 by
President Kabila after being cited in the Lutundula
Commission report on corruption in mining sector contracts
(ref D).

5. (SBU) Kikaya, Kabila's private secretary until being
elected to the Assembly from Maniema, had received the third
highest number of votes of any candidate nationwide. The
Supreme Court ruling overturned its decision to set aside
Kikaya's victory because he had run on a ticket with a public
employee, an ineligible candidate under DRC election rules.
The appeal was a matter of principle for Kikaya; in fact, he
is unlikely to remain in the Assembly if offered another
position by Kabila. "I want to be where the action is," he
told us February 10 as the court was preparing to hear the
case, a standard he clearly feels the Assembly cannot meet.

6. (U) Cleophas Kamitatu (CODEP), father of Olivier Kamitatu
and a longtime presence in Congolese politics, had his
challenge to the election of Tryphon Kin-kiey Mulumba
(Independent/AMP) in Bandundu rejected by the Court February
26 in one of 16 cases decided that day. Mulumba is the owner
of the online news site Le Soft International, the last
information minister of the Mobutu regime and later an
official of the then-rebel RCD. The court had accepted the
case for judgment, but ruled Kamitatu had not provided
sufficient proof to support a detailed ten-point case for
invalidating Mulumba's election.

7. (SBU) Comment: All outstanding challenges to National
Assembly results should have been resolved long ago. The
court's six-month odyssey to resolve a total of 372
challenges to 500 races highlights the need for reform of not
only the judicial but the electoral system as well. The
Supreme Court is the sole venue for challenges to National
Assembly races, and as some of these cases show, is even
empowered to overrule itself. End comment.
MEECE

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