DRC Elections: Joseph Kabila Will Not Run, But Will Remain President

She Okitundu, KalevMutondo, Delphin Kahimbi meet Paul Kagame, Kigali, Jul, 29, 2018

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Joseph Kabila, the current president of  the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)  will declare that he is not seeking reelection, sources close to both Joseph Kabila and Paul Kagame, respectively the dictator of DRC and of Rwanda told AfroAmerica Network on Monday, July 30, 2018. 

"Joseph Kabila will state that, in respect of the constitution, he has decided not to run in the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled in Dec 2018. However, he will not release power," the two sources concurred.

Bowing to international pressure, Joseph Kabila has opted to temporarily appease the International Community, while putting in motion a rather shrewd machiavellian scheme.

A Shrewd Strategy

According to the sources, the plan is as follows, 

1) Ensure the loyalty of the army: Joseph Kabila has secured the loyalty of the army, by bringing into his inner circle or promoting officers sanctioned by the international community. One of these officers is General John Numbi (see here "Are Moïse Katumbi, John Numbi and M23 Rebels Joining Forces Against Joseph Kabila?") , With General John Numbi, Joseph Kabila has been playing 2 games: appeasement and try-but-verify.
As an appeasement,  Joseph Kabila  recently appointed John Numbi the General Inspector of the FARDC, or as some in Kinshasa observed, the de facto Chief of Staff of the FARDC.
Mistrusting John Numbi, Joseph Kabila has also promoted several military officers, most of whom  are sanctioned individuals, some to the rank of General.

According to the sources in Kinshasa, these military officers have been invited to the capital Kinshasa for the promotion ceremony and will receive some financial incentives, to keep them in check and buy their loyalty. They would also serve as a counterweight against John Numbi, in case he seeks to overthrow Joseph Kabila.  Each of the military  officers who will be promoted will receive a personal bonus, up to $10,000, depending on the level of influence.

2) Make sure the elections do not happen. Each unit commander will receive $100,000 to prepare the soldiers under his or her command, for the elections.  The units will be tasked with making sure elections fail in at least 80% of the precincts.  To sabotage the elections  without the risk of having independent observers documenting what happened, Joseph Kabila has, according to the sources, given instructions to the military commanders being promoted or given  bonuses on how to keep the United Nations mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO, far away from the elections. Joseph Kabila has also given orders to reject any help from MONUSCO, in organising elections.

3) Declare the state of emergency
Once the elections are sabotaged, Joseph Kabila will declare a state of emergency and order the army, under the command of the sanctioned individuals not eager to see a change,  to ensure security.

With the strategy, Joseph Kabila will state to the International Community that he has  heard their concerns, respected the DRC Constitution, but that, if the elections have failed or did not happen as planned, it was not his fault.  Arguing that the country has to avoid a power vacuum, he will then propose to stay on for 4 more years, while new elections are being organized. After 4 years, DRC will have a new constitution, and Joseph Kabila, the "new constitutional right" to seek reelection.

Relying on Sanctionned Military Commanders

The appeasement of the internation community has started with the official visit of Joseph Kabila's delegation to Kigali, where they met the Rwandan  dictator Paul Kagame, who is also the current chair of the African Union.

The delegation was composed of three sanctioned individuals: Commander of Military intelligence General Delphin Kahimbi,  Director of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) Kalev Mutondo, and Vice-President and Foreigh Affair Minister Leonard She Okitundu.

Officially the DRC Government delegation was in Kigali to give a special message from Joseph Kabila  to Paul Kagame, on the advances of the electoral process, the border security and the fight against armed groups before and during the upcoming elections, and the mutual economical projects.

But, the reality is that Joseph Kabila has started a public relations campaign with the Rwandan dictator as the Chairman of the African Union.  Paul Kagame, meanwhile, has also been looking at other alternatives to Joseph Kabila. The alternatives include Moise Katumbi (see here "Are Moïse Katumbi, John Numbi and M23 Rebels Joining Forces Against Joseph Kabila?").

Will Paul Kagame side with Joseph Kabila, his long time protege or Moise Katumbi, his trojan horse in both DRC and Burundi

Joseph Kabila also plans to send a similar delegation to Angola and France, whose presidents have been vocal.