Cablegate: Kabila Appeals for Calm, Vigilance

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: President Joseph Kabila, Interior Minister
Theophile Mbemba, and opposition figure Etienne Tshisekedi
all broadcast messages to the public on 3 June, appealing for
calm. On balance, the messages were positive. Kabila
discouraged violence, endorsed MONUC's work, demanded that
politicians refrain from 'hate speech,' and insisted that the
transition would go forward. Tshisekedi encouraged the
people to maintain pressure -- peacefully -- on the
government. Since protests have ebbed 3 June, it seems that
these appeals for calm were helpful. End summary.

President Kabila Speaks
2. (U) President Kabila spoke in French at 2315L, on national
television and radio. (Comment: The use of French rather
than local vernacular such as Lingala (in Kinshasa) or
Swahili (in Katanga and the east) necessarily limits the
"reach" of his message. End Comment.) He said:


--there has been fighting in Bukavu since May 26; that city
is now controlled by Rwandan-backed insurgents

--this act is designed to prevent reunification of the Congo
and extension of state authority over the national territory

--it is no coincidence that the fighting started the same day
as the swearing-in of provincial governors named by the
central government


--he understands popular anger, because of the desire for
national unity and territorial integrity

--however, such solidarity does not warrant excesses which
result in material and human losses

--those who indulge in excesses are playing the game of the
enemy, who seeks the slightest opportunity to disturb the

--MONUC is on a mission of peace, and is helping the
government to achieve transitional objectives


--the people should trust government institutions, the
police, and the army, which are relentlessly defending the

--during a special meeting, the government made the necessary
provisions to restore national unity and territorial
integrity; he promised to work hard and with determination
to achieve these goals

--the insurgents must lay down their arms, and Rwandan troops
must withdraw

--MONUC should act with greater determination to protect the
inhabitants of Bukavu

--he promised to fight with the people to achieve national
unity, and called upon them to mobilize in "disciplined
solidarity" in order to foil the enemy's plan


--he called on politicians to act responsibly and avoid using
"hate speech;" irresponsible acts and remarks should be
avoided because democracy means disciplined liberty, it is
not anarchy

--the government will respond adequately to the events in
Bukavu; these events shall not lessen the determination to
continue the transition and the goal of holding free and fair

Interior Minister Appeals for Calm
3. (SBU) According to Pol FSN, Interior Minister Theophile
Mbemba spoke in Lingala at 1800L, on national television and
radio. (Comment: Mbemba's words are important because he is
one of the few senior officials with a local
(Kinshasa/Bandundu) ethnopolitical base of support. End
Comment.) He said, in sequential order:

--the people should hold national interests paramount

--those who want disturbances, which could lead to greater
problems, do not like the Congo

--the people should work together, so there may be peace in
Kinshasa and the republic; they should have love for all,
help each other, not become divided, and remain vigilant

--the government will do everything possible to rebuild what
has been destroyed

Tshisekedi Says "No" to Coup d'Etat

4. (SBU) Political opposition figure Etienne Tshisekedi also
spoke yesterday afternoon; various radio and television
stations broadcast his speech, which was in Lingala. He
reportedly said:

--the people are to be congratulated for becoming politically
aware and active, which is the basis of democracy

--supporters have been encouraging him to march with them to
the seat of government, where they would proclaim him
president of the republic; this would be a coup d'etat,
another dictatorship, not the democracy for which they have
been fighting

--if his supporters march on government institutions, a hail
of bullets will shower on them; people should abide by the
law, should not target foreigners, but continue to maintain
pressure on the government to hold elections

5. (SBU) On balance, Kabila's speech was positive. Many
observers were concerned that he would say nothing to dampen
anti-MONUC sentiment or ease ethnic tensions, and perhaps
even declare a state of emergency. Tshisekedi's message was
significant because many of the protesters on June 3
reportedly shouted pro-Tshisekedi slogans and wrote
pro-Tshisekedi graffiti. It should be noted, however, that
Tshisekedi's own home turf--the Kasais--remained quiet on


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