Thursday, December 07, 2006

Kabila Sworn In As President

On december 6, 2006, Joseph Kabila was sworn in as the first elected president in over 40 years. The youngest head of state in Africa (35 years old), will take on the largest task of any African head of state in reconstructing the Congo.

Kabila said that he would pursue the "the trilogy of good governance, democracy and respect for human rights". Should he abide by these principles, it would be contrary to anything that he has done since ascending to power in 2001.

Kabila has three early tests which can very well set the tone for his five-year presidency:
1. The manner in which he handles the conflict in the East, primarily Larent Nkunda's rebel movement
2. Whether he reaches out to the vast majority of the population in the Western provinces who did not vote for him, particulalry in the capital Kinshasa.
3. Whether he takes up the Lutundula report in an attempt to redress the pillaging of the Congo that took place over the past 8 years.

Political Science 101 says that if you want to see how a party will govern when elected, look at what that party did before getting elected. Let's hope the Kabila regime makes a 180 degree turnaround.