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Cablegate: Drc Supreme Court Reinstates Kasai Occidental

VZCZCXRO4507
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0945 2201059
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081059Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6670
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000945

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM CG
SUBJECT: DRC SUPREME COURT REINSTATES KASAI OCCIDENTAL
GOVERNOR TO OFFICE

REF: A. KINSHASA 642
B. KINSHASA 932

1. (U) The DRC's Supreme Court in July 31 technical ruling
declared unconstitutional a no-confidence motion adopted June
7 by the Kasai Occidental provincial assembly against
Governor Tresor Kapuku, a member of the pro-Kabila Alliance
for the Presidential Majority (AMP) election coalition (ref
A). The original motion forced Kapuku out of office according
to the rules of the DRC's constitution. Kapuku subsequently
appealed to the provincial court of appeals, which then
referred the case to the Supreme Court for a final decision.
The court's ruling reinstates Kapuku to his position.

2. (U) The court's decision, released publicly August 6,
stated that the no-confidence measure was unlawful because
Kapuku had at the time not presented his plan of government
to the provincial assembly, nor had the assembly approved
Kapuku's government. According to the DRC's constitution, a
governor officially enters into function after the provincial
assembly adopts the governor's program. Therefore, the court
argued, the assembly had no legal basis on which to hold a
no-confidence vote, as Kapuku had not been officially
inducted as governor. The court did not rule on the merits of
the measure itself, which charged that Kapuku had committed
"flagrant acts of contempt" against the provincial assembly
as well as other violations of the constitution.

3. (U) MONUC officials in Kananga, the provincial capital,
reported a muted reaction to the decision among the
population, as most are focused on the August 1 train
accident in the western part of the province that claimed
nearly 100 lives (ref B). Assembly President Omer Mijimbu, a
member of the political opposition, announced earlier on July
31 that deputies aligned with the pro-Bemba Union for the
Nation (UpN) alliance would not question the court's ruling.
Members of the UpN coalition originally forced a vote on the
no-confidence measure, even though the AMP holds a narrow
majority in the assembly.

4. (SBU) Kapuku, who was returning to the province from
Kinshasa August 7 to survey the accident site, was not
available for comment. In an August 4 meeting with PolOff,
Kapuku did not reveal that he knew of the court's decision
when asked directly. Instead, he said that should the court
rule in his favor, he intended to work closely with members
of the majority and the opposition to avoid repeating the
problems that led to the no-confidence measure.

5. (SBU) Comment: The court's ruling in favor of Kapuku was
never particularly in doubt. The more important question now
is how Kapuku will be able to govern effectively with a
provincial assembly -- already sharply divided between the
AMP and the political opposition -- that tried to oust him.
End comment.
MEECE

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