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Cablegate: Judicial Reform, Decentralization and Elections Key Items

VZCZCXRO2732
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0290 0841119
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 241119Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7720
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000290

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958; N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL CG
SUBJECT: JUDICIAL REFORM, DECENTRALIZATION AND ELECTIONS KEY ITEMS
FOR DRC PARLIAMENT

REF: A. Kinshasa 272 B. Kinshasa 243 C. Kinshasa 218

1. (SBU) Summary: Judicial reform and decentralization legislation
are among the key priorities for the regular session of Congolese
Parliament which opened March 15. Creation of a successor body to
the Independent Electoral Commission will be one of the more
difficult agenda items. Also likely to appear on the legislative
calendar are an official inquiry into the current violence in
Bas-Congo province and the amnesty law stipulated in the January 23
Goma Acte d'Engagement. End Summary.

2. (U) The chiefs of staff to the presidents of the DRC Senate and
the National Assembly previewed the Spring 2008 legislative agenda
to PolOff and PolAsst in consecutive meetings March 14. Information
they provided on the calendar contained no unanticipated surprises.
The Senate and Assembly inaugurated the session in separate
ceremonies the following day (septel).

3. (SBU) Denis Tabianda Ngansia, chief of staff to Senate President
Leon Kengo Wa Dondo, said the Senate will review the draft law on
decentralization, which will establish the administrative
composition of sub-provincial governments. He said other Senate
priorities include proposed laws on the High Council of Magistrates
(the administrative council charged with ensuring the independence
of the judiciary) and the protection of patients with HIV/AIDs.
Tabianda added that a Senate commission will examine mining
contracts negotiated during the 2003-2006 Transitional government to
determine if the terms are fair and equitable to the DRC.

4. (SBU) Pierre Kangudia, chief of staff to National Assembly
President Vital Kamerhe, highlighted the importance of Parliament's
two roles: lawmaking and oversight of the executive. He said the
Assembly will draft laws establishing the higher and lower courts
called for by the 2006 Constitution. He said that it will also
review implementation of the 2008 budget and reports from various
parliamentary commissions.

5. (SBU) Kangudia anticipated difficulty in reaching agreement on
the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), a critical
step for local elections anticipated later in the year. The CENI
will replace the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI). He
predicted intense consultations before majority and opposition
deputies are able to reach agreement on its composition.

6. (SBU) Kangudia indicated that the Assembly is likely to undertake
an inquiry into the current violence in Bas-Congo province
(reftels). He reported that deputies had discussed the text of a
possible motion in preparatory sessions. He said the Assembly had
received a draft amnesty law from the government, covering acts of
war and insurrection from 2003 until date of passage, derived from a
provision of the January 2008 Goma Acte d'Engagement.

7. (SBU) Comment. The difficulties predicted by Kangudia in
establishing the CENI, together with the challenges faced by the
Senate in adopting decentralization legislation, leaves the prospect
of local elections in 2008 increasingly in doubt. End comment.

GARVELINK

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