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Cablegate: Drc Opposition: Splintered and Bickering

VZCZCXRO8534
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1123/01 3521409
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 171409Z DEC 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8921
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 001123

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM CG
SUBJECT: DRC OPPOSITION: SPLINTERED AND BICKERING

KINSHASA 00001123 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: Poloffs met separately with the leadership of the
DRC's main political opposition to identify party priorities and
gauge the level of coordination between opposition elements.
Opposition leaders identified security and justice sector reform as
pressing needs, as well as improving relations with Rwanda and
progress against the systemic problem of corruption. The Union for
Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS--Union pour la democratie et le
progres social), which did not participate in the 2006 national
elections, indicated that it would participate in local elections
scheduled for 2009. Disagreement among opposition parties persists
regarding the election modalities for the official opposition
spokesman. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In a series of separate meetings, Poloffs met with the
leadership from the main DRC opposition parties, including Thomas
Luhaka, Executive Secretary of the Movement for the Liberation of
Congo (MLC--Mouvement de liberation du Congo); Joseph Mukendi, Chief
of External Communications for the Union for Democracy and Social
Progress (UDPS--Union pour la democratie et le progres social);
Azarias Ruberwa, President of the Congolese Rally for Democracy
(RCD--Rassemblement des congolais pour la democratie); and Gilbert
Kia Kiakwama, President of the Christian Democratic Convention
(CDC--Convention des democrates chretiens).

Opposition: Institutional Reforms and Corruption
--------------------------------------------- ---

3. (SBU) All four opposition members stressed the importance of
carrying out institutional reform of the army, police, and judicial
system. They criticized the high ratio of officers to enlisted men
in the national army, as well as the large number of civil servants
appointed from the east, particularly Katanga. They noted the
corruptive pressure that a dysfunctional judiciary placed on
magistrates and the negative impact on attracting foreign
investment. Kiakwama (CDC) labeled the current government as
nothing more than the legitimization by the 2006 elections of
Laurent Kabila's Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of
Congo (AFDL--Alliance des forces democratique pour la liberation du
Congo, -- the opposition movement that toppled Mobutu in 1997).

Opposition: 2009 Local Elections Unlikely
-----------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The consensus amongst the opposition is that President
Kabila's ruling alliance, the Alliance of the Presidential Majority
(AMP--Alliance de la majorite presidentielle) would not hold local
elections in 2009 as required by the Constitution. Opposition
leaders attributed the government's reluctance to hold elections to
its high disapproval levels, particularly regarding its handling of
the conflict in the eastern DRC, as well as recognition that the
GDRC has not delivered on its development priorities. Mukendi
(UDPS) said that his party will participate in the 2009 local
elections (Note: that local elections will be held in 2009 has not
been confirmed. End note.). Luhaka (MLC) noted that opposition
parties are not organized for 2009 elections, although they are
committed to them in principle.

Discord Amongst the Opposition
------------------------------

5. (SBU) Disagreement amongst the opposition parties continues to
preclude the establishment of internal rules, the first process
necessary before electing an opposition spokesman. Luhaka maintains
public support for Jean-Pierre Bemba, the MLC's ICC-detained party
president. The MLC, therefore, is insisting on an open vote, with
no requirement that the spokesman be physically present in the
country. Luhaka also added that Ruberwa (RCD) has no standing to be
spokesman as he does not currently hold public office. Luhaka
claimed that the MLC, in contrast to the radical approach of the
UDPS, represented a responsible form of opposition. From another
perspective, Kiakwama (CDC) characterized the MLC as undemocratic
for dismissing other opposition points of view. Kiakwma also
disputed the constitutionality of the MLC insistence on an open vote
vice a secret ballot. The RCD claimed that the MLC is inhibited by
ties to Bemba, thus preventing the MLC from uniting with other
opposition parties to challenge the AMP.

6. (SBU) Comment: Opposition parties have been unable to agree on
the internal rules governing the designation of an official
spokesman despite the passage of the law defining the status of the
political opposition in December 2007. Amongst the opposition,
there is consensus on the failings of the Kabila government and the
GDRC's inability to achieve its priority development objectives.
However, the opposition is unwilling to close ranks on technical
issues of power sharing and representation. Opposition deputies and
senators have utilized the floors of the Assembly and Senate to

KINSHASA 00001123 002 OF 002


deliver sharp criticisms of the government. However, this verbal
enthusiasm has rarely resulted in active censure or punitive
measures. The MLC's majority position within the opposition and its
insistence on the candidacy of Bemba are impediments for any near
term agreement. At the moment, the DRC political opposition remains
splintered, with no prospect for any greater level of cooperation.
End Comment.

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