Election season in the Democratic Republic of Congo exemplifies the reason this period of high political temperatures called the ‘silly season.’ The Congolese political class take it a notch higher and act totally insane when election time comes.
Characteristically, incumbent and aspiring Congolese leaders cast caution to the wind and they don’t mind what they say or what they do, as long as they are able to win the contested political positions.
What is worrying is that the army will always join the fray since they stand to benefit as cronies of the politicians after the dust settles and the eating begins. Rwanda, for some mysterious reasons, is always the wild card for Congolese politicians, because as it has become the norm, the politicians who employs the most cynical bashing of Rwanda secures the highest chance of winning.
The Congolese have elections next year, and the temperatures are already rising higher and higher and the Rwanda bashing competition has kicked off in earnest. From the presidential candidates to the grassroots level aspirants, every contender has to find a way of incorporating Rwanda more than once in their speeches in order to win applause from the voters.
For instance, after the recent violent riots in the Eastern Congo where Congolese, after the incitement of the DRC Senate president, attacked the United Nations peacekeepers looting and vandalizing property, some senior Congolese politicians were heard shamelessly trying to link the riots to Rwanda. This comes after myriad of repeated accusations since the beginning of the year, that Rwanda was behind the resurgence of the M23 rebellion.
Yesterday, Congolese leaders held what they called ‘Genocost’, ostensibly to commemorate the ‘genocide of the Congolese for economical gains’, during which Rwanda was the dominant feature in most of the speeches delivered by the leaders who attended. Supposedly, the event was held to remember Congolese nationals who died during the wars that have taken place in Congo in the past three decades. Strangely, none of the speakers blamed Congolese leaders for the successive conflicts, leadership failures and deaths that resulted from them.
Deceitfully, the Congolese leaders avoided mentioning that it was their mistake of welcoming genocidaires who had just completed a one hundred days bloodbath in Rwanda and allowed them in with all their arsenal to settle comfortably on their territory. They avoided mentioning that the armed groups, including FDLR and allied militias are remnants of the genocidaires they allowed in in 1994 and have been largely responsible for the deaths and misery of Congolese.
But then, its pre-election time and facts don’t sell political agendas, hence the competition of falsehoods.