June 18, 2024


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Katumbi Uses Maize as Bargaining Power to Blackmail the DRC Government and Force a Political Deal

Pathetic strategy as the confluence of intelligent and intelligible corridors does not rhyme through ambiguous manoeuvers for goal attainment even though the end justifies the means. The electoral contests in DRC are becoming clearer with the completion of voters’ registration control by CENI (DR Congo IEC), the adjudication, even better, the cleaning of the electoral registry are about to be brought to the fore. A move that has hangered the opposing camp, called the opposition; haggard eyes were on April 14, 2023 conclave that took place in Lubumbashi, a lot was expected from it but it did disappoint, unfortunately. Anxious and sweating hot and heavy even during sleepless nights; the opposition’s conclave mastermind, Moise Katumbi Chapwe opted for draconian measures aimed at starving the Congolese population of food commodities for their survival, the maize. Refusing to take the blame for not having provided enough during their gathering, he hopes to render the DRC government plead with him on bended knees – one individual. What nerve!

Currently, sources agree that the provinces of Greater Katanga (Lulaba, Tanganika, Haut Lomami and Haut Katanga) and Greater Kasai (Kasai Oriental, Kasai Occidental, Kasaï Central, Lomami and Sankuru) are experiencing a major shortage of maize as well as the resulting flour. Shortage of maize products in the aforementioned provinces is due to political blackmail spearheaded by some malicious Congolese politicians. It ought to note that the Greater Katanga market is supplied with maize (and its derivatives) by Zambia, and by extension, Katanga becomes the bread and basket for Greater Kasai, which in turn gets its supplies therein. Like a dispatch falling on the editorial desk, Zambia decided to stop exports of this commodity to the DRC unilaterally, claiming the holding of a dialogue between the Congolese government and the opposition would be the ideal preamble for the resumption of export activities. Zambia cannot trample on the Congolese nation; everyone is aware that one of the major producers and exporters of maize (and its flour) in Zambia is Moise Katumbi. Not long ago he made a statement that he would be willing to lower the bag of maize price to $10 if the Congolese government convenes a dialogue with the opposition. The DRC quickly understands that an economic operator and former provincial governor is pulling the strings and trying to vassalize its government. A déjà vu scenario that has similarities with the mackerel (thomson fish) episode from Namibia in December 2021. The nation failed celebrating the Nativity and New Year’s Eve with dignity and joy because of the exclusivity of fish import rights from Namibia to DRC, notwithstanding endeavours made by the government.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the dark hand behind this economic miasma has a name: MOISE KATUMBI. He raises the stakes high because of the scarcity of maize exports to Katanga, which has made the harvests from Kanyama Kasese insufficient, as harvested maize would not suffice to supply provinces concerned at the same time. He transforms a horribly deleterious situation into a lethal political weapon (causing the famine that kills) to blackmail the Congolese government, in order to obtain his gains politically, but to the detriment of the people whom he calls to vote for him in the upcoming presidential election. With such a wickedly hateful, disinterested and above all mercantile personality, it would be presumptuous to believe that he can tame the electorate in Congo so that the people should vote for him. The opposition is first of all a good understanding of the functioning of the three powers as well as of the government project, and then, to espouse a critical feeling in relation to the said project and to the management of public affairs for the benefit of the citizens and in respect for the laws and the constitution

The DRC saw it coming! Under the watching and warning eye of His Excellency Mr. Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Republic, the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister of Economy, Mr Vital Kamerhe wa Kanyingiyi Nkingi, re-entering the politics arena, and endowed with a firm determination to deal with these issues, headed a strong delegation made up of the Ministers of Industry, Foreign Trade, Entrepreneurship and Medium-Sized Enterprises, the Vice-Minister of Planning, the Minister of Finance represented by Mrs Clarisse and the Government Deputy Secretary General of the. The delegation arrived in South Africa to pursue talks with South African farmers and industrialists in order to base strategies and think about their implementation in order to close the gaps, find suitable solutions to overcome the shortage imposed on certain provinces by the will of an individual. In addition, the presence of His Excellency the Ambassador Extraordinary and Penitentiary of the DRC in South Africa, Fidèle Mulaja Binene and his team, was of subliminal importance alongside the delegation. He knows RSA paths and meanders as for potential deals and business purpose to help DRC, and he masters the circles of the politico-economic and business sphere in the rainbow nation too. The flamboyant contribution by the Ambassador made visits of the delegation from Kinshasa such a superb success. Delegation members, once back in Congo, will pursue commitments with businesspersons grouped within the FEC (Consortium of companies operating in the DRC), who work in the agro-pastoral industry. Initiatives for oil exploration in the southern zone will be tabled at later stage.

Beyond agricultural structural adjustments contemplated with South African partners, economic adjustments were also on the agenda. From the short to the medium term, everything was elucidated; the government will, in the short term, purchase flour and unmilled maize to cover the gap created by the shortage over a period of 6 months. The medium term consists of subsidies to Congolese farmers through a partnership or joint venture with South African farmers and industrialists. It is an economic model similar to that implemented by the RSA in the agro-animal sector, for more benefit in the perspective of long-term proceeds.

If yesteryear Muzito declared on foreign television and radio that the opposition will adopt drastic measures to paralyze the country economy, by stopping FDI flow into RDC, it is the turn of Moise Katumbi to ensuring that maize becomes a rare commodity in the provinces listed above, and tomorrow, what will the next day be like? Congolese political opposition is the source of the people’s opprobrium and misery in terms of food security. A leader who starves his people to death is not worthy of any vote casting.

The perspicacity of remaining the “public enemy” of the Congolese nation and its population borders on madness, instead of engaging in advocacy for its economic and social well-being. Starving people so that they live by instinct of survival will never make them ready, neither for an oppressive economic operator, nor for victory in the presidential election, even less a futuristic and non-avant-garde opposition like the one presented to the Congolese. It is just a lexical and discursive approach to rei publica. Fatshi Béton and the government understood the stormy machination; very quickly, they deployed the steamroller mechanisms to suppress the insane ire by the boss of Ensemble through salvation alternatives. The Black Hand is not unique; the support of string pullers from the outside has a single objective, to annihilating the government’s efforts in making BETON’s December electoral campaign falter. He is already in Kinshasa to pursue his macabre and diabolic crusade; who is he? Of course, Moise Katumbi – Checkmate.