Home Lead Story The Unexpecte...

The Unexpected Transfer Of Power In Congo

Felix Tshisekedi, the only one of six sons to enter politics, doesn't have his father's fire, some observers have said.

0
Congo
Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the Congolese main opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) who was announced as the winner of the presidential elections gestures to his supporters in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan. 10 VOA

Felix Tshisekedi has emerged from his father’s shadow to become Congo’s next president. For decades that post eluded his father, the venerated opposition politician, Etienne, whose death in 2017 helped catapult his son into the limelight.

The passage of power from father to son is a familiar story in Congo, where President Joseph Kabila took office at age 29 after the assassination of his father, Laurent, in 2001. He stayed on two years beyond his mandate amid delayed elections that finally took place on Dec. 30.

Now Tshisekedi, 55, is taking over after a disputed vote, with his inauguration on Thursday marking troubled Congo’s first democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960 from Belgium.

Many Congolese say his surprise victory is one the largely untested opposition leader did not earn.

Congo, President, Election
Supporters of Felix Tshisekedi, Democratic Republic of Congo’s opposition politician declared winner of the presidential poll, sing and dance ahead of the Constitutional Court final decision on the presidential results, in Kinshasa, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Runner-Up Revolts

Runner-up Martin Fayulu on Sunday lost a court challenge to election results despite presenting leaked data from Congo’s electoral commission showing he easily won. Fayulu has declared himself the only legitimate president, but Congolese largely have not heeded his call for peaceful protests.

Fayulu and his supporters have accused Kabila of making a backroom deal with Tshisekedi when the ruling party’s candidate did poorly in the vote. Fayulu, an opposition lawmaker and businessman who is outspoken about cleaning up Congo’s sprawling corruption, has been seen by some as a bigger threat to Kabila and his allies.

Tshisekedi “was somebody who would compromise and somebody they felt they could work with because he wasn’t saying he would launch an investigation into Kabila,” said Andrew Edward Tchie, research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Congo, Election
Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the Congolese main opposition party, was announced as the winner of the presidential elections. He gestures to his supporters at the party headquarters in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan. 10, 2019. VOA

His presidency will essentially be “a continuation of the regime,” Tchie said. Even if Fayulu had been declared the winner “it would have been the same thing,” given that Kabila’s ruling coalition won a majority of the National Assembly.

Tshisekedi, who was largely quiet after the election, has not addressed the allegation of a secret deal. He told supporters after the court’s declaration of his victory that “the Congo that we are going to form will not be a Congo of division, hatred or tribalism. It will be a reconciled Congo, a strong Congo that will be focused on development, peace and security.”

Nobody thought the electoral process would be peaceful, Tshisekedi has said, and no one thought an opposition candidate would win.

After division among African leaders over the disputed vote, some have congratulated Tshisekedi and urged Congolese to move on in the interest of stability after decades of rebel-led turmoil that have left millions dead.

Until his surprise victory, Tshisekedi’s most notable political act had been briefly supporting Fayulu as the candidate of an opposition coalition last year but then breaking away within a day to pursue the presidency himself.

Congo
Supporters of Felix Tshisekedi, who was announced as the winner of the presidential elections, celebrate in the streets of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

Tshisekedi, the father of five, quietly built his career in the shadow of his father, taking over Congo’s most prominent opposition party only a year after his death.

He had been named the Union for Democracy and Social Progress party’s national secretary in 2008, and was elected a national deputy in 2011 to the city of Mbujimayi in Kasai Oriental province. He later won a National Assembly seat and in 2016 became the party’s vice secretary.

The party’s supporters are nicknamed “the fighters” for their outspoken following. When they speak of Tshisekedi or the UDPS, there is usually mention of his charismatic father.

“Etienne left us the agreement [for Kabila to leave], now Felix is going to be president,” said one supporter, Jean-Baptiste Lay.

Etienne Tshisekedi’s death came at a fragile moment for Congo. He was deeply involved in efforts to persuade Kabila to agree to step down amid sometimes deadly protests over the election delay.

The 84-year-old had formed the country’s first opposition party in 1982 against the longtime dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko and briefly served several times as prime minister.

Congo, President, Election
Congo opposition candidate Martin Fayulu greets supporters as he arrives at a rally in Kinshasha, Congo, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

Tshisekedi went into exile in 2000 after clashes with Kabila’s father, who took power after Mobutu’s ouster. He made a triumphant return in 2003 as Joseph Kabila was early in his rule. He lost to Kabila in the 2011 presidential election amid allegations of vote-rigging and declared himself president in protest.

When he died in Belgium, Kabila’s government was so wary of the impact on people the return of his body to Congo could cause that until now they have blocked it from coming home.

Also Read: Calm Settles Over Congo After Election Result

Felix Tshisekedi, the only one of six sons to enter politics, doesn’t have his father’s fire, some observers have said. Questions remain about his abilities and qualifications. Some Belgian media have questioned the veracity of his diploma, but Congolese law says a candidate can either submit a diploma or serve a certain amount of time as a politician to qualify to run for president.

As Congo’s incoming leader inherits the troubled country, he will look to his father’s legacy. One of his first things Tshisekedi will do once sworn in, a spokesman said, is finally allow his father’s body to come home for burial. (VOA)

Next Story

“Unfair Practices Smack The Elections For Herricks Board of Education”, Claims Candidate Bhajan Ratra

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the elections will now be conducted exclusively by absentee ballot via US Mail

0
Herricks
The Year 2020-21 School Budget Vote and its Board of Education Election is to be conducted on Tuesday, June 9th. Herricks.org

By Kashish Rai

The Herricks Board of Education is accredited by the New York State Board of Regents and the Middle School Association.

The Year 2020-21 School Budget Vote and its Board of Education Election is to be conducted on Tuesday, June 9th. Two seats in the board are being challenged. Henry R. Zanetti and James Gounaris are running for re-elections against challengers Bhajan S. Ratra and Tarantej S. Arora.

Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the vote was postponed from its original date scheduled in May and it will now be conducted exclusively by absentee ballot via US Mail.

Challenger Bhajan S. Ratra is an adjunct professor of Mathematics at Baruch College and SUNY Farmingdale. He is a panel member on the content advisory and bias review committees of New York State Teaching Certification Examination and has served in the past on the standards setting committee for the NYS Regents exams. He claims that unfair practices and inappropriate approach is smacking the election for the board.

The preceding position holders- Zanetti and James Gounaris have violated the code of conduct by doing undesirable posts through social media.

In the below given screenshot it can be observed that they are instigating the audience to vote for them by posting a picture of the ballot having their names marked. They can also be seen getting criticized by a user questioning the “appropriateness” of the post.

Post
Screenshot of the facebook post by Gounaris tagging Henry Zanetti.

According to the rules, it is illegal to take selfies/ post the picture of the ballot during the time of election in New York. Zanetti and James were seen violating the rules, thus, Ratra claims that their candidature should be disqualified.

In the above added screenshot, it can also be seen that the incumbents have pointed out “yes” To the budget vote. This can be considered as an act of misleading the public regardless of prior audits. According to the rules, an incumbent can not urge the public to vote “yes”. This raises some very serious questions- Does the incumbent(s) has/have their personal interest in voting “Yes”?

Screenshot
Screenshot of the discussion by the audience in comments on the Facebook post by Gounaris.

Mr. Ratra states that the reason for him contesting the election is because of his will to serve his community being an educator. As a member of the board of education he wants to use his experience to influence the decisions taken by the board that will help to move the Herricks School district from good to great. Bhajan aims to establish a transparent approach between students, families, Teachers and board members.

Bhajan Ratra
Challenger Bhajan S. Ratra is an adjunct professor of Mathematics at Baruch College and SUNY Farmingdale. He is a panel member on the content advisory and bias review committees of New York State Teaching Certification Examination and has served in the past on the standards setting committee for the NYS Regents exams.

There were many issues emerging earlier in the board, among them which was an inordinate approach with the board’s budget. The NY State Auditors concluded that The Herricks school district consistently overspent its budget for custodians’ overtime pay — thousands of dollars in expenditures that in many cases may not have been necessary. Bhajan aims to focus on solving these very core issues, he says that he aims to take a stand but every time he tries, his voice gets dominated.

Headline
This picture represents the headline of the news story published on newsday.com which highlights the plight of mismanagement in budget of the Herricks Board.

Despite these frustrations and pressures, Bhajan has refused to give up because his only aim is to establish a clean and fair approach. In his concludary words Bhajan told NewsGram- “It doesn’t matter if I win or lose, my only aim is to serve my community in any possible way, these frustrations and pressures doesn’t affect me as I continue to take stand for my role and responsibility as someone who wants to contribute to the society”.

ALSO READ: COVID-19: Samsung Exclusive Stores get ‘Suraksha’ Certified

Now, it is to be think upon~ what best possible action would be taken as far as the code of conduct and the rules are concerned with due respect to the elections. Here position doesn’t matter, what matters is ethics and the truth.

 

 

Next Story

We Are Working Very Closely With India: Trump on Covid-19 Vaccine Project

US and India are working together on Covid-19 vaccine project, revealed Trump

0
Trump Modi Bilateral Meeting
"Operation Warp Speed" aims to make a vaccine against COVID-19 by the end of this year, told President Trump. Wikimedia Commons

By Arul Louis

Launching “Operation Warp Speed” to ready a vaccine against Covid-19 by the end of the year, President Donald Trump said on Friday the US was working with India on the project suggests the Latest World News.

“We are working very closely also with India,” Trump said while speaking to reporters when he unveiled the project at the White House.

He also acknowledged the work of Indian-Americans on vaccine development projects.

There is a “tremendous Indian population in the United States, many of the people you are talking about are working on the vaccine too. Great scientists and researchers,” he said.

Trump, who recalled his February visit to India, ended his comment on India saying, “Say hello to your Prime Minister!”

Earlier, he said that India and other countries would have access to any vaccine or therapy developed by the US.

Trump_and_Modi
Trump acknowledged the work of Indian-Americans on vaccine development projects. Wikimedia Commons

He said that the US and companies were not seeking to make a profit out of the crisis and wanted to make them available to all.

Trump said that the goal of “Operation Warp Speed” was to try to have a vaccine ready by the end of the year.

“We would love to see if we could do it prior to the end of the year,” he said.

Read More: Young Indians Are At An Evergrowing Risk Of Hypertension

He said that Moncef Slaoui, who is the former head of GlaxoSmithKline vaccines division, would head the project with General Gustave Perna looking after the logistics.

Trump said that the vaccine would be available to all who wanted it and the military, the other arms of the government and the private sector would be fully mobilised to get them out.

The best candidates of the several under development would be made ready in advance and would go out as soon one gets approved. (IANS)

Next Story

U.S. President Donald Trump Confident About Coronavirus Originating in a Chinese Laboratory

Trump Contradicts US Intelligence; Says COVID-19 Came From Chinese Lab

0
coronavirus
President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters during a event about protecting seniors, in the East Room of the White House. VOA

By Steve Herman, Jeff Seldin

U.S. President Donald Trump says he has a “high degree of confidence” the coronavirus pandemic originated in a Chinese laboratory, contradicting a rare public assessment issued hours earlier by his top intelligence agency.

While most scientists agree the coronavirus pandemic originated in Wuhan, China, there has been endless speculation about how the virus jumped from animals to humans, with many conspiracy theorists clinging to the idea that COVID-19 was engineered on purpose.

U.S. intelligence officials earlier Thursday, however, said they had ruled out that scenario.

The U.S. intelligence community “concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said.

Asked late Thursday if he has seen evidence from U.S. intelligence officials that COVID-19 came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the president replied, “Yes, yes I have,” though he declined to share any details.

coronavirus Outbreak China
Chinese police officers wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus talk to a person near Tiananmen Square in Beijing. VOA

“I’m not allowed to tell you that,” he added.

The intelligence statement left open the possibility the outbreak, which originated in China, could still have ties to Chinese researchers.

“The IC (intelligence community) will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan,” it said.

The Chinese government-backed Wuhan Institute of Virology has repeatedly denied allegations it was the source of the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and many experts have said the virus most likely made the jump from animals to people in a nearby wildlife market.

Trump, though, has repeatedly cast doubt on China’s denials, accusing both Beijing and the World Health Organization of misleading the rest of the world on how and when the pandemic started.

“There’s a lot of theories,” Trump said Thursday, adding that Chinese officials need to stop withholding key details.

“So far, I think China is trying to be somewhat transparent with us,” he added.

Other top U.S. officials, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have also questioned China’s willingness to come forward with key information.

But during an interview with a local radio station in Iowa, Pompeo said there is still a lot of uncertainty about the virus’s origins.

Please follow NewsGram on Instagram to get updates on the latest news

“We don’t know if it came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.  We don’t know if it emanated from the wet market or yet some other place,” he said. “We don’t know those answers.”

Yet whether any conclusive evidence has emerged, Thursday’s statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence would appear to indicate U.S. intelligence officials have at least come to a better understanding.

Two weeks ago, a U.S. intelligence official told VOA that while agencies were “actively and vigorously tracking down every piece of information,” the community had “not collectively agreed on any one theory.”

Some former U.S. intelligence officials, though, are viewing Thursday’s statement with a degree of suspicion, pointing to what they see as the president’s ongoing efforts to politicize the U.S. intelligence apparatus.

coronavirus Outbreak China
A medical staff member holding samples from patients infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus before a nucleic acid test at Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province. VOA

“It certainly is unusual, and reflects the politically charged nature of the topic as the Trump administration tries hard to deflect attention from its own performance during the pandemic,” said Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA officer who has been critical of the administration.

“The statement appears to be a compromise that makes the IC [intelligence community] appear to be working objectively without pouring cold water on the White House’s favorite rhetorical line about Chinese malfeasance,” said Pillar, now with Georgetown University.

Others, however, see the statement as a smart move, given the onslaught of disinformation that has surrounded the pandemic.

“[It’s] doubtful that this was spin or US disinformation,” said Larry Pfeiffer, a former CIA chief of staff and former senior director of the White House Situation Room, who like Pillar has been critical of the White House’s handling of intelligence matters. “I give the ODNI credit for stepping up to the plate to add some clarity to the situation.”

The statement may also portend a greater public role for U.S. intelligence agencies going forward.

Also Read- Lockdown in India Has Resulted to Biggest Revenue Impact: Amazon

“These are trying times,” said Daniel Hoffman, a retired senior CIA officer. “There’s a lot of disinformation, misinformation and ignorance.”

That informational fog, according to Hoffman, has only been compounded by China’s refusal to quickly and transparently come forward with all the information it has on the origins of the virus.

“We’re relying on our intelligence community to fill in the gaps in what we know,” he said. (VOA)