Election in Congo won’t bring freedom

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An African counts votes at a polling station in Congo.

On July 30, imperialist media worldwide publicized the political contest between Joseph Kabila and Jean Pierre Bemba for leadership of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This political contest was another example put forth by the imperialist rulers of how the petty bourgeoisie should access, keep or share power in Africa, while the masses continue to suffer without relief in sight.

Subject to the payment of $50,000, 33 presidential candidates registered and 9,632 candidates ran for 500 seats in the parliament. Over 200 political parties have been active in this electoral process, and the whole electoral process is being funded by imperialist rulers: the European Union (EU), the U.S. and Japan.

Some $500 million have been spent in the first round to organize these elections in a country where the infrastructures have not just been broken down, but have decayed during decades of neo-colonialism, ineptitude and imperialist looting of our resources.

Many Africans in Congo are unregistered and ineligible to vote. The Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), headed by a priest named Apollinaire Malu Malu, has registered some 25 million voters, barely 60 percent of the population.

Elections are way for factions of the African petty bourgeoisie to access, share and retain power in Congo

Joseph Kabila, the son of former president of the Democratic Republic of Congo Laurent Desire Kabila, took power after his father’s death in January of 2001. Kabila was a soldier in the armed movement initiated by the U.S. government that toppled Mobutu Sese Seko, the neo-colonial stooge used by the imperialists to overthrow Patrice Lumumba. He is also the leader of the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD).

His opponent is Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, current deputy president and son of one of Mobutu’s former cronies, Bemba Soloma. Bemba Soloma joined Laurent Desire Kabila after Mobutu’s downfall.

His son, Jean-Pierre, became leader of the armed rebel organization Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC). MLC was backed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the U.S. government.

Between 1998 and 2003, the war in Congo — fought between Kabila ‘s government forces, Bemba’s MLC and the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) backed by the Rwandan army — resulted in the death of over 5 million Africans. This was the biggest killing field in the most recent history of imperialist genocide against African people.

The other candidates who ran for presidency were Arthur Z’Ahidi Ngoma, current vice president and former leader of RCD before converting to civilian opposition to Kabila; Pierre Pay-Pay wa Syakassighe, a former finance minister under Mobutu’s regime; Francois Joseph Mobutu Nzanga Ngangawe, the son of Mobutu Sese Seko; and Antoine Gizenga, former deputy prime minister in Lumumba’s government.

What we see in Congo is what we have seen many times in Jamaica, Senegal, and recently in South Africa, where two or more candidates compete for control of the State. Campaigns for neocolonial elections are often accompanied with colonial violence where poor people are killed in the process of keeping some sell-out petty bourgeois forces in power.

It does not matter what party wins, the economy of Africa remains in the bloody hands of white imperialism.

Elections as a tool to implement imperialist peace in Congo

The conflict between armed groups in Congo is a conflict between different imperialist powers, represented by the U.S. on one side and the EU led by France on the other side. These two imperialist groups agreed to impose a power-sharing scheme with the Sun City Agreement in April 2002 and with the Pretoria Accord in December 2002. Both agreements were signed in South Africa.

From that point, Congo has been run by president Joseph Kabila and four vice presidents from armed and civil opposition forces. The vice presidents are Jean-Pierre Bemba from MLC; Azarias Ruberwa from RCD; civil opposition force Arthur Z’Ahidi Ngoma; and Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi from Kabila’s PPRD.

The industrial rise of China and India has exacerbated the race for control of African resources. The European Union and the U.S. want a stable and peaceful colony that they can plunder at will. That is why they have momentarily agreed to impose these elections in Congo.

The EU sees in Kabila its hope to secure its share of the loot. The U.S. does not exclude the prospect of working with Kabila, but during the war from 1998 to 2003, it relied on alliances with Paul Kagame in Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni in Uganda and Bemba and others in Congo to destabilize Congo and loot it mercilessly.

Bemba campaigned on “nationality” ticket

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Joseph Kabila and Jean-Pierre Bemba are both petty bourgeois forces that will only deepen the misery of African people in Congo.

“It is nonsense for the masses of our people to get caught in this contest between Bemba and Kabila, who are both servants of foreign imperialist powers.”

Jean-Pierre Bemba and other Mobutists campaigned on the “nationality” ticket, claiming that Kabila is not Congolese, but Rwandese. They repeatedly claimed that foreigners run Congo.

Kinshasa, the capital city of Congo has been the bastion of that anti-Kabila expression. On the other hand, Kabila’s campaign painted the picture that he has brought peace to Congo and organized the first elections in Congo.

The title of “nationalist” was given to the partisans of Lumumba because they opposed imperialism. Today anyone who opposes Rwanda or Uganda‘s influence over Congo — quiet as they may be about imperialism — give themselves the title nationalists. Mobutists and Tshisekedists are the largest group of those who misuse this adjective of nationalist for manipulative purposes.

It is insane to call any African a foreigner when the entire nation-state was created and is in the hands of white imperialism, the primary enemy of all oppressed people in the world. The Congo nation-state is the creation of the imperialists who created it to extract natural and labor value out of Congo. It is a nation state created for foreigners from Europe.

The African petty bourgeois forces are social forces created to maintain capitalism in the colonies. They are a class exists for the sole reason of serving foreign powers.

It is nonsense for the masses of our people to get caught in this contest between Bemba and Kabila, who are both servants of foreign imperialist powers.

The elections are financed by foreign imperialism. The UN has sent 23,000 armed forces to Congo along with the 3,000 that the European Union sent a to impose or to protect the outcome that is favourable to imperialism.

The essence of Congolese economy is an export economy, designed to serve the tastes and needs of foreigners’ markets.

African Internationalist party rooted amongst poor workers and peasants is missing element

Some of the elements of the African petty bourgeoisie claim that what is absent from these elections is Etienne Tshisekedi, the leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) that led the bourgeois opposition to Mobutu’s despotic rule.

Tshisekedi’s party refused to register during the referendum on the new Congolese constitution. He argued that the constitutional transition ended on July 30, 2006 and that any process beyond that must be renegotiated.

He later on changed his mind asking without success for negotiations with Kabila‘s government that would allow his party and supporters to register.

All the aforementioned parties are conscious representatives of the African petty bourgeoisie.

The reality is that Tshisekedi started his career as a Mobutist, as a counterinsurgent element born out of Mobutu’s first coup in September 1960 to destroy Lumumba’s government. Tshisekedi was one of the cadres of the first neocolonial government created by this CIA-sponsored coup.

At the height of his popularity in the mid-90s, whenever the people demanded Mobutu’s departure — even as he was dying in a hospital in France — it was Tshisekedi who gave him the crucial last support to extend his unwanted and outdated regime.

The real missing element in this election is the organized and independent voice of the African working class that has lost five million of its people because of opportunism that has ravaged our movement. Today the African working class is led by the most backward and unimaginable leadership of the black petty bourgeoisie, whose mind cannot conceive of freedom from imperialism nor power as a result of the people’s revolution.

Our present task is to lay down a plan for the most dynamic ideological warfare ever seen in the center of Africa that will mobilize African workers and peasants as a force fighting for itself as the primary producer of the value in society. This ideological warfare is an integral part of a Yeshitelist party-building process.

Only such a party would be able to give meaning to the electoral process for the people who would be enjoying their own organization and leadership. Elections must mean greater democratic space for the worker movement, an increase in basic democratic rights, the ability to travel without police harassment or immigration control throughout Africa and around the world. Elections must provide the right of basic health care.

Most importantly, the electoral process should provide our class the opportunity to know and participate in the programs, strategies and tactics of African Internationalists for African unity and liberation.

All power to African workers!

Build to win!

One Africa! One Nation!

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Joseph Kabila and Jean-Pierre Bemba are both petty bourgeois forces that will only deepen the misery of African people in Congo.


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