An Attempted Coup in Congo Kinshasa
While incompetent leaders in the Maghreb and in the Middle East are being shaken by a wave of revolution like a merciless cyclone, The Democratic Republic of Congo seems to have adopted the most draconian measure: immediate physical elimination of the head of state. What would have been the probable repercussions in achieving a change of political institutions by murdering a president in such a fragile democracy like the Congo?
A widespread terror shook the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, on February 27th when a heavily armed group of assailants stormed the presidential palace in order to kill the head of state. Six of the assailants were killed, some wounded and others taken hostage. It was clearly a failed attempt to murder the president. It was not, evidently, going to be the first assassination of a president, both nationally and at the international level. Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Mohamed Boudiaf, Thomas Sankara, Melchior Ndadaye, Francois Tombalbaye, and Marien Ngouabi are some of many political leaders who have perished in similar circumstances. But Kabila’s case would have been quite unique considering the fact that Joseph Kabila’s father, Laurent Desiré Kabila, also was assassinated, on 18th January 2001, when his own bodyguard pulled the trigger and shot him several times at close range.
Joseph Kabila took power afterwards and later organized the first and only democratic elections in the country since independence. In 2006 he became the first democratically elected president of this vast country, which has been wracked by decades of turmoil mainly due to its rich natural resources. Despite some relevant initiatives in trying to rebuild the country, mainly through the famous, huge project called Les cinq chantiers (something like “the five buildings”), many Congolese, especially in the Diaspora, still see Joseph Kabila as a marionette and incompetent leader. Moreover, many Congolese claim that Joseph Kabila is a Rwandese. This is the major fact that creates a strong animosity against him and motivates many of his proponents to want him out of power by any means; considering all the crimes and atrocities inflicted to Congolese by infiltrated Rwandese rebels and assailants in the Eastern part of Congo.
Motivation and inspiration for this attack certainly emanated from the revolutionary storm that is raging in the Arab world. Certainly the Congolese version and process is different from the strategy adopted in the Arab world, but the goal is indubitably the same: to get rid of incompetent or marionette heads of states.
In such a country, already weakened by a constant political instability, decimated by various armed conflicts, and plunged into a war in which more than five million people have been killed (the deadliest conflict since World War II), the consequences of such an operation would probably have been an ignition to new hostilities and armed conflicts between Joseph Kabila’s advocates and opponents, which would have surely led to massive lost of lives and casualties.
by Serge Mukiele