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The East African : January 6th 2014
8 The EastAfrican NEWS JANUARY 4-10,2014 REGION IN CONFLICT Region’s hard choices as Kabila battles opposition The decision to back the DRC p≥esident will be a tough one fo≥ the EA ≥egion, as he appea≥s to be d≥awn towa≥ds SADC By GAAKI KIGAMBO Special Correspondent A series of attacks last week in DR Congo’s capital Kinshasa may have appeared somewhat comical, with a band of young men raiding the national television wielding sticks and machetes. But observers say they were a smokescreen of the agitation that is building up against President Joseph Kabila as his last constitutional term nears the end. For the region Thousands of Congolese flee the town of Sake, 26km west of Goma, following fresh fighting in the eastern DR Congo. Pic: File and beyond, propping up President Kabila appears the best option. In the absence of viable successors, the alternatives — an ouster or the emergence of an unlikely successor — could reverse recent gains made to pacify the vast mineral-rich country. Should they choose to sup- port him, it will be the second time they are doing so after the highly contested 2011 elections that nearly every observer concluded was anything but free and fair. For this, Étienne Tshisekedi, who came close to unseating Mr Kabila, remains under state watch. Dr Kasaija Phillip Apu- OPEN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIVE BIDDING EXPRESSION OF INTEREST (EOI) TENDER TITLE: INTEGRATED CUSTOMS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (iCMS) AND RELATED MODERNISATION SERVICES AT KENYA REVENUE AUTHORITY (KRA) TENDER NUMBER: PO/20130221 KRA wishes to replace its existing Customs system, the SIMBA System, with a comprehensive integrated Customs Management System (iCMS) that will enhance automation of customs and revenue collection procedures whilst facilitating international trade across Kenyan borders. On behalf of KRA, TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) seeks to contract a consultancy firm to provide this solution. Terms of Reference, expression of interest document and the application form can be obtained at TMEA’s website www.trademarkea.com/work-with-us. Interested and qualified consultancy firms must apply as per the EOI instructions. All queries must be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any query email attachments must be 5 MB or less. The closing date for submissions is 31 January 2014 (at 10.00 a.m. Kenya time). TMEA cannot answer any query relating to this tender 10 days or less prior to the submission deadline. uli, an expert on the Great Lakes region, says the region is caught between the proverbial rock and hard place as it confronts the choice of backing President Kabila for a third term and dealing with the consequences or waiting for the leader a likely warped political process will produce, who could still be Mr Kabila. “Who is the alternative? Kabila is perceived as someone who has managed to hold the country together in spite of the numerous challenges,” Dr Kasaija said. The choice to back Presi- dent Kabila will be especially tough for the East African region, as he has appeared to draw away from his counterparts in preference for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Europe, a decision Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has protested bitterly. At a joint summit of SADC and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, which he chairs, Mr Museveni said DR Congo’s problems over the last half century have comprised, among others, “having a Euro-centric foreign policy and completely ignoring the Great Lakes Region under the belief that as long as European powers and the USA are supportive of what the Congo Government is doing (right or wrong), they did not have to bother with the region.” Yet even this may not keep him away necessarily. According to Dr Kasaija, Uganda’s security interests along the western border have inevitably compelled the leadership to establish working IS M23 DEFEAT A BOOST? The defeat of M23, that the UN has insisted was associated with Kigali, gave Kabila’s largely leadership a huge boost. Yet, it appears to have done little. Dr Kasaija says it is unlikely to earn him mileage enough to engineer a third term for himself – the pressing matter that is behind growing agitation in Congo, which, some observers say, is finding expression in such incidents as happened last week. In relations with their Congolese counterparts, which they would be keen to strengthen with someone they already know. On Monday, December 30, 2013, the national television, the airport and a military base were scenes of deadly clashes as the Congolese army attempted to repulse a group associated with Joseph Mukungubila, a losing candidate in the 2006 polls and an outspoken critic of the president. The group armed with sticks, machetes and light weapons said their aim was to free the country “from the slavery of the Rwandan” – a not-so-veiled reference to President Kabila who, until recently, was constantly criticised for leaning towards Rwanda, where he honed his military skills. Farther from Kinshasa, re- lated attacks were reported in the provinces of Maniema and Katanga, where Kabila comes from and ideally his political base, all of which, for a moment, raised questions He seems to have strategic allies in Angola, Tanzania and South Africa who might decide to give him support.” Dr Kasaija Philip power since 2001, when he replaced his father, Mr Kabila is serving his last constitutional term, which ends in 2016. He roused speculation in October last year that he might change the constitution to run for a third term when he announced the formation of a national unity government, which, analysts say, split an already fragmented opposition. over the fate of an ongoing international effort to rid the volatile east of the country of armed militias that have spawned instability across the Great Lakes region. The attacks followed politi- cal conflict in South Sudan, ethno-religious clashes in the troubled Central African Republic, and grenade blasts in Mombasa, Kenya. Taken together, these events appear to have eroded the tenuous stability the region had hoped to build upon in the New Year, especially following the silencing of guns in the restive North Kivu region in eastern DRC. The coup attempt, as some have interpreted the attacks, was further compounded by the death of Col Mamadou N’Dala in the battlefield on January 2 as he led an offensive against the Allied Democratic Forces, a DR Congo-based Ugandan rebel group that has been fighting to oust President Museveni from power for at least 15 years now. Col N’Dala was highly re- garded for leading the Congolese army operations against the M23 rebels last October and November. His death is seen as a setback to the UNled campaign to rid Congo of armed groups, who will bear the full pressure of his passing, according to Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC.
December 30th 2013
January 13th 2014