News roundup: Vital Lula, UN sanctions and Tshisekedi

  • The UN has added four people to its sanctions list for violation of its sanctions regime – Col. Innocent Zimurinda, an ex-CNDP commander, and three high-ranking FDLR commanders, including its new president Gen. Iyamuremye (aka Rumuli Michel). We shouldn’t expect too much, however – the sanctions are only asset freezes and travel bans. None of the people sanctioned have known bank accounts or travel much across international borders. The same goes for over 90% of the other people on the sanctions list.
  • Etienne Tshisekedi, the veteran opposition leader, has delayed his return to Kinshasa from Brussels for logistical reasons – apparently they need to confirm their authorization for the rallies to be held when he arrives at the airport. In any case, his UDPS party has said that he will be back in time for their national congress on December 10th.
  • Below is an interview with the other big opposition candidate: Vital Kamerhe in Rome, where he was attending the consecration of the Congo’ new cardinal, Laurent Monsengwo. Vital waxes lyrical (and a bit demagogic), avoiding questions about his presidential ambitions (“there is a time for everything, the Bible says that.”) He calls himself “a church in the middle of the village,” alluding to his talents for bridging social divides and and one point suggesting that the Congo is very much like Brazil (“there is only a tectonic plate dividing us, we have a big river and a big jungle, too) and that it needs a Lula. (Vital Lula?) The two main policy positions he takes is denouncing JP Bemba’s arrest and pushing for negotiations between Rwanda and the FDLR.