Speech by Deputy Minister Pahad to the IGD Conference on "Perspectives
on the DRC Transitional Government" on 30 May 2005, Burgerspark Hotel, Pretoria
of the diplomatic corps
Representatives of MONUC
Delegates from the DRC
I thank the IGD for inviting me to participate in this
very important conference. The history of the Congo is a very tragic and sad one.
For over three centuries the Congolese have been subjected to slavery, ruthless
exploitation of its resources.
After the Berlin Conference the Congo became
the private property of King Leopold III. In this period the plundering of the
Congo's resources was ruthlessly intensified and a reign of terror was increased,
causing millions of dead.
Adam Hoschild in his book "King Leopold's
Ghost" brilliantly exposes this.
This was followed by 52 years of brutal
and rapacious colonial rule.
The founding of the first democratic Republic
of the Congo in 1960 was short lived, with the overthrow of Patrice Lumumba. An
action that was supported by many of the major western powers.
went through a period of extreme instability and conflicts. Mobuto took over as
head of state in 1965 and named the country Zaire.
The plundering and looting
continued. Mobuto became an instrument of imperialist tactics during the Cold
War and Zaire became a destabilising force in the region.
on "Perspectives on the DRC Transitional Government" must be in the
context of this reality.
As you are aware, the DRC Transitional Government,
which will come to an end with the holding of democratic elections, has been extended
by another six months, i.e. December 2005. This follows a request by the DRC Independent
Electoral Commission (CEI) to Parliament for postponement in order to allow itself
more time to prepare for the elections that were originally scheduled to have
taken place in June 2005. This request by the CEI is in accordance with the Global
and All-Inclusive Agreement, signed in Pretoria in December 2002, which makes,
among others, provision for
- the holding of elections within 24 months
of the establishment of a DRC Transitional Government, and
- an extension
of the term of the Transitional Government by two terms of six months each, should
conditions not be conducive to the holding of elections within the prescribed
To reach this stage the road has indeed been long and arduous. In
order to give a Perspective on this, one needs to look at the circumstances that
led to the establishment of a Transitional Government in the DRC,
of Mobuto by coalition of forces
- Fighting between allies
- The process
started with the Lusaka Cease-fire Agreement, signed on 10 July 1999 and which
after further negotiations led to the cessation of hostilities between the Governments
of the DRC, Angola, Republic of Congo, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe, the
Ugandan-backed Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) on 1 August 1999 and,
finally, by 50 people representing both factions of the Rally for Congolese Democracy
(RCD) on 31 August 1999;
- The OAU mandated the Inter-Congolese Dialogue (ICD),
which started in Ethiopia in April 2001 and eventually ended in South Africa in
April 2003, as well as
- The continuing role of the international community
in the DRC.
Only against a backdrop of the processes that led to the establishment
of this Transitional Government in the DRC can one begin to grapple with the enormous
challenges of this Government in Transitional, the transitional process itself
and indeed a future DRC Government. One should not be lulled into thinking that
once democratic elections are held, peace and stability will prevail in the DRC
the size of Western Europe. Indeed, while the holding of democratic elections
signifies the first step towards democracy and good governance, it will take wholehearted
political commitment and huge application of resources from both the DRC leaders
and the international community, before the DRC takes its rightful place in the
continent and the world.
Lusaka Cease-fire Agreement
the outbreak of internal conflict in the DRC in 1997, numerous efforts were made
by a variety of countries, leaders and institutions to resolve the situation.
The SADC initiative, led by former President Mandela (initiated at the Pretoria
Summit on 23 August 1999), and later President Mbeki, resulted in the Lusaka Cease-fire
Agreement (LCA) being signed during July and August 1999. This Agreement was then
reached a month after President Mbeki tabled key proposals, such as
need for direct talks between parties,
- the cessation of hostilities pending
an inter-Congolese political arrangement, and
- the withdrawal of foreign troops
after the deployment of a peacekeeping operation.
These proposals were later
enshrined in the Agreement.
The cease-fire agreement was signed by the Heads
of State of the DRC, Republic of Congo, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe and
the Minister of Defence of Angola on 10 July 1999. In the months following, this
agreement was also signed by the Ugandan-backed Movement for the Liberation of
Congo (MLC) on 1 August 1999 and, finally, by 50 people representing both factions
of the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) on 31 August 1999.
the "Lusaka Cease-fire Agreement" only provided for the cessation of
hostilities pending a political settlement among the Congolese themselves. Chapter
V of the agreement, which defined the parameters of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue
(ICD), called for the official launch of this process of negotiations, which should
lead to a 'new political dispensation and national reconciliation in the DRC'.
Yet, instead of a 90-day time frame allotted to the Congolese parties to reach
agreement, the ICD lasted 3 years.
Furthermore, although the agreement
stipulated that foreign troops should withdraw from DRC territory within 180 days
after the signing thereof, it was not adhered to and was later extended. It would
not be until the signing of separate agreements between the DRC and Rwanda as
well as between the DRC and Uganda, in July and September 2002, respectively,
that the way was paved for the withdrawal of foreign forces from the Congolese
The signing of the Lusaka Cease-fire Agreement emanated not
only from persistent third-party efforts, but also from contextual factors. The
accord was brokered at a time when the military situation has reached a stalemate
and all the signatories could draw political benefits from certain, yet differing,
provisions of the peace accord. All belligerent states secured a regional commitment
to deal with their national concerns and the rebels obtained international recognition.
The agreement granted the rebels equal status in the forthcoming political negotiations.
The signing of the cease-fire agreement did not reflect the general commitment
to reach a political settlement to the conflict.
Within such a context,
the Inter-Congolese Dialogue took time to materialise and even longer to reach
Inter-Congolese Dialogue (ICD)
The objective of
the ICD was to establish a transitional administration in the DRC pending the
holding of democratic elections. As stipulated in the 'Lusaka Cease-fire Agreement',
the ICD aimed at facilitating an agreement among its participants on four (4)
issues related to power sharing in the DRC:
- The formation of a new Congolese
- The future institutions in the country,
- The organisation of general
- The interim constitution and institutions that would govern
the DRC during the transitional period.
The transitional administration
was to be inclusive, i.e. composition should represent the various Congolese stakeholders
and it should govern the country based on the principle of consensus. In accordance
with this approach, the negotiations were to include the Government of the DRC,
the main rebel groups (at the time RCD and MLC), political parties as well as
representatives from civil society. All parties were expected to participate with
equal status in the talks. The dialogue were to take place under the aegis of
a neutral facilitator, who would be responsible for organising the negotiations,
consulting parties and conducting discussions.
However, Sir Ketumile Masire,
former President of Botswana, was only appointed facilitator on 15 December 1999,
two months after the deadline given to participants to conclude talks. Even then,
the ICD stalled for another 12 months after Sir Ketumile's appointment.
Preparatory meeting for the Inter-Congolese Dialogue (ICD) took place in Gaborone
in August 2001 and the ICD was officially launched in Addis Ababa in October 2001.
These meeting (in Addis Ababa) only lasted five (5) days instead of the proposed
forty-five (45) days mainly due to issues of representation. It was then decided
that participation in the ICD should broadened to include representatives from,
the local Mai-Mai militias,
- religious orders,
- traditional chiefs, and
other groups from the armed and non-armed opposition.
Following an official
request by the Facilitator, directly to President Mbeki, for South Africa to host
the ICD agreement was reached by all participating groups, to the effect that
the ICD would officially resume and that it will be relocated from Addis Ababa
to South Africa..
The Sun City phase
South Africa hosted the
second phase of the ICD from February until April 2002, which ended in deadlock.
Meanwhile, in July and September 2002 respectively, separate agreements
were concluded between the DRC and Rwanda as well as between the DRC and Uganda,
which paved the way for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Congolese territory.
The Global and All-Inclusive Agreement
On 17 December 2002,
the main Congolese parties to the conflict finally signed the 'Global and All-Inclusive
Agreement on the Transition in the DRC' in Pretoria. This agreement reflected
an arrangement between the principle role-players as to how to share power at
the governmental level during the 24-month transitional period, at the end of
which elections should be held.
In brief, President Kabila would remain
Head of State (and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces) and would be assisted
by 4 Vice-Presidents in charge of governmental commissions, each comprising Ministers
and Deputy Ministers.
- A political commission would be chaired by the
leader of the RCD-Goma (Azarias Ruberwa),
- An economic and finance commission
would be chaired by the leader of the MLC (Jean-Pierre Bemba),
- A reconstruction
and development commission would be led by a member of Kabila's government (former
Foreign Minister) Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi), and
- A social and cultural
commission was to be headed by a representative of the political opposition (Arthur
In total, the transitional government would include 36 Ministers
and 25 Deputy Ministers. In addition, the signatories also agreed on structure
and composition of the parliament, which would consist of a national assembly
(comprising 500 members and presided over by a MLC representative) and a senate
(comprising 120 members and presided over by civil society). Civil society would
also head the 5 independent institutions 'in support of democracy' whose establishment
was decided at Sun City, including the independent electoral commission.
this Agreement, like previous ones, was achieved only after protracted negotiations
and intense international pressure by specifically the UN, South Africa and the
This agreement, however, failed to address at least 3 important outstanding
- the disarmament and integration of the armed forces into
a united national army,
- the personal security of transitional government
- the interim constitution for the transitional period
resolve these pending issues, technical committees were reconvened in Pretoria
in February 2003 and delegates approved 3 additional documents. These were,
a MoU regarding the mechanism for the establishment of a restructured and integrated
(However, it was not until June 2003 that agreement was reached
in Kinshasa on the sharing of military responsibilities during the transitional
period. President Kabila would nominate the armed forces chief of staff and the
head of the navy, while RCD-Goma and MLC would head the ground forces and the
- a MoU regarding the security provisions during
the transition. The international community was approached to protect the transitional
institutions and ensure security in Kinshasa- a task that that MONUC would assume.
- a Transitional Constitution.
The signing of agreements on the outstanding
issues paved the way for the final session of the ICD, held at Sun City on 1-2
April 2003, during which the Final Act was signed, endorsing all agreements approved
DRC Transitional Government
Which was eventually
established in May 2003. Five institutions in support of democracy - The Independent
Electoral Commission, Higher Media Authority, The Commission for Truth and Reconciliation,
The Commission for Ethics and Struggle against Corruption, and The National Observatory
for Human Rights, were officially inaugurated on 28 August 2003. In May 2004,
President Joseph Kabila announced his roadmap of actions to be taken by the Transitional
Government to take the country to elections on the date agreed upon.
to this roadmap, the President committed himself to the promulgation of the following
laws, among others, from April to December 2004, - Defence and Security; Organic
laws of the five institutions to support democracy; Census; Referendum, and Prerequisites
on the recognition acquisition, loss and recovery of Congolese citizenship. He
also undertook to appoint managers for state companies; diplomats and territorial
administrators; DDR Supervisor, CONADER supervisor and members of the military
structure of integration, and for the CEI to begin its functions.
it took time before the Tansitional Government assumed some management function
it did importantly, passed the law on nationality in September 2004 and legislation
to regulate the elections in December 2004, which would enable the Independent
Electoral Commission (CEI) to launch the process of the organisation of elections.
On 15 May 2004, President Mbeki travelled to the DRC at the invitation of President
Kabila, to attend the inauguration of DRC Constitution which was to take place
on 16 May 2005. The adoption of the Constitution paves the way for the adoption
of electoral laws. It is envisaged that a national Constitutional referendum will
be held in November 2005, after the completion of voters' registration, scheduled
to commence in June 2005.
The principles of the Draft Constitution provide
for a form of state in which there is a unitary and federal synthesis. Twenty
five provinces are provided for, permitting provincial administrative autonomy.
An elected President will be limited to two five-year terms in office, assisted
by a Prime Minister, who will manage the functioning of the government. The President
may only take certain decisions after consulting with the Prime Minister and with
Parliament. The legislative power of Parliament permits the governing authorities
to be censored, and ensures stronger discipline of the government. The Judiciary
will maintain complete independence and will consist of a Judicial Court, an Administrative
Court, and a Constitutional Court. Opposition from political parties is legally
permitted. The equality of men and women in the exercise of state power is enshrined.
Violence, including sexual exploitation, against women and children is legally
President Mbeki's visit
During his visit President
Mbeki took the opportunity to discuss the state of preparation for the general
presidential and parliamentary elections, and the issue of their postponement.
For this purpose, the President undertook to meet various role-players in the
transition process, including Vice-Presidents Yerodia Ndombasi, Zahidi Ngoma,
and Azarias Ruberwa; Archbishop Monsengwo; Speaker of the National Assembly, Olivier
Kamitatu; Mbusa Nyamwisi, of RCD-K-ML, Roger Lumbala, representatives of Mai-Mai;
representatives of civil society; Archbishop Mosengwo and a group of Congolese
women. The Congolese interlocutor expressed their support for the holding of elections
within the time-frame accorded by the Transitional Constitution and agreed to
a postponement thereof. Concerns were expressed about the pace of integration
of the armed forces in the DRC. They were also concerned with the lack of adequate
communication between the government and the Congolese people regarding the transitional
process and the preparations for elections. They wanted a definite time frame
for the postponed elections.
President Mbeki stressed that absolute clarity
must be attained regarding the preparation required for elections, so that the
people may become aware of the challenges derived from electoral preparations
and the timetable required to complete the process. The South African police are
working closely with the Congolese police forces to ensure security and to assist
with the integration of police forces in the DRC. The President reiterated that
the South African government is committed to assisting the DRC in its reconstruction
and development objectives.
The importance of continuous engagement with
both the DRC leadership and civil society in order to bridge the divide between
the Congolese and to get an idea of the political climate in in the country cannot
be overemphasised. More importantly, as indicated previously, the negotiated agreements
that laid the groundwork for the establishment of a Transitional Government in
the DRC, was achieved mainly through third- party involvement and not un-mediated
dialogue between between partners. The lack of dialogue between parties in the
DRC has proved to be a major hurdle in the transitional process.
its establishment, the DRC Transitional Government has been characterised by a
lack of trust and co-operation among its participants, a failure to address the
root causes of instability and conflict and lack of progress with the integration
of the Armed Forces. A major problem for the Transitional Government is the continued
violence in the eastern DRC and its inability to extend its power over the entire
Security Sector reform
The Reform of the DRC Security
Sector is a major concern in the run up to the elections and primordial loyalties
by armed factions serve as an impediment to the extension of state authority/sovereignty
over the entire country. A unified Congolese Defence Force, free from foreign
influence, can play a major role in the disarmament process of armed groups and
militias, and in bringing about internal peace and security in the run-up to elections.
Parallel chains of command persist in the army. Many stand to lose power in the
elections and are therefore attempting to prolong and disrupt the transitional
process. Political weakness at the centre has allowed military conflicts to fester
on the periphery.
An important development to deal with the volatile situation
was the announcement by the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda),
on 31 March 2005, that they would unconditionally abandon the armed struggle and
return to Rwanda, and following the passing of MONUC's deadline (1 April 2005)
for more than 15 000 militia to surrender their weapons to MONUC and DRC government
forces (FARDC), approximately 12 000 former militias have entered the disarmament
and reintegration process.
Many ex-militias have chosen to reintegrate in
the communities, rather than military integration.
MONUC is also concerned
that while arms have been handed over, the militias have not provided full disclosure
and the presence of heavy artillery in eastern DRC. This could result in further
conflict should the reintegration process not be properly handled.
the causes of conflict between remaining militia groups appear to have changed
from rival militia clashes along ethnic lines or clashes for reasons of financial
gain, to that of neutralising the common threat, namely, the 'new' DRC Armed Forces
(FARDC) and MONUC.
Regionally, the DRC has had uneasy
relations with Rwanda and this deteriorated when President Kabila publicly claimed
in May 2004, that Rwanda was responsible for the events in east of the DRC, which
led to the fall of Bukavu into rebel hands. Following these and related incidents
indicating that the transitional process was in danger of collapsing.
to promote peace between the DRC and its neighbours received yet another major
blow after the massacre of an estimated l60 Congolese Tutsi (Banyamulenge) in
a refugee camp in Gatumba, Burundi on 13 August 2004. Rwanda threatened to re-enter
the DRC and hunt down the ex- FAR/ Interahamwe that are held responsible for the
latest killings. The incident also led to an announcement by the RCD of its suspension
from participation in the transitional process and institutions. President Mbeki
undertook a visit to the DRC at the end of August 2004 at time when serious crisis
had developed as result of the Gatumba incident . As a result of President Mbeki's
direct intervention the leaders of the Transitional Government recommitted themselves
to the transitional process. A special appeal was also made to South Africa to
assist the DRC organise elections. In this regard, relevant South African Departments
and the IEC visited the DRC prior to the President's visit to engage their counterparts
on a series of issues pertaining to general cooperation and the transition, including
South Africa's assistance
In order to carry forward
South Africa's assistance to the DRC, the involvement of key Departments and institutions
is critical during the transitional period and following consultations with the
DRC counterparts, most of the departments have deployed personnel to that country
to follow through with commitments made by South Africa. South Africa has offered
assistance inter alia in the fields of election preparation (IEC), voter identification
(Home Affairs), Police Training (SAPS), institutional capacity building (DPLG),
public service census and the establishment of an anti-corruption framework (DPSA)
and Integration of the Armed Forces (SANDF).
Financial assistance towards
South Africa's efforts in the DRC remains a challenge that must be urgently addressed,
if South Africa is to realise its objective of assisting the DRC achieve successful
reconstruction and development. South Africa has made an initial contribution
of +- R25 million, which it secured through the African Renaissance Fund to kickstart
South African Governmental support in the DRC transitional process.
The DRC has embarked on an irreversible transitional process, albeit at a slower
pace than required or anticipated. All political leaders and their respective
military forces have something gain from a successful transition. They basically
have a choice between being left isolated and marginalised by the transition,
barely in control of decreasing pieces of territory, or become part of legitimate
- There is unprecedented international commitment,
which has been demonstrated through continued engagement by the UN, African and
western countries with the DRC Transitional Government and other actors in the
region, notably Rwanda and Uganda.
- The DRC's transitional government has
acknowledged mistakes made thus far during the transitional period and has realised
the need for rectification thereof.
- It is envisaged that general elections
will take place be 31 December 2005, failing which a second 6-month postponement
may be requested. South Africa is actively assisting in the required logistical
- We are at a historical moment and the Congolese people
must seize the opportunity. South Afrca is confident that in the absence of the
Cold War and outside interference the Congolese people will take their destiny
into their own hands and ensure that the enormous resources are used in the interest
of the Congolese people.
Much progress has been made but there are many
challenges and obsacles.
A properous and peaceful DRC will contribute to
ensure that the 21st century is truly an African century.
Issued by Department
of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152