The Nairobi agreement, concluded on 23 November 2018 between Félix Tshisekedi and Vital Kamerhe, is definitely dead. It is President Félix Tshisekedi himself who sang his requiem publicly, this Wednesday, in Lubumbashi.
Since the victory of the coalition Cap pour le changement (CACH) made up of the UDPS of Felix Tshisekedi and the UNC of Vital Kamerhe, the Nairobi agreement, concluded between the two men, had been in a bad way, as its clauses were struggling to be implemented. Here you go! While Vital Kamerhe was supposed to be Prime Minister, he finally had to console himself with the post of Director of Cabinet of the Head of State, the Prime Minister’s office having been given to the other allied coalition, Joseph Kabila’s Common Front for the Congo (FCC).
A little more than a year after his appointment as Director of Cabinet, he is now embroiled in legal problems. Accused of corruption in the affair of the 100 days of work of President Tshisekedi, Vital Kamerhe was sentenced to 20 years in prison during a trial that ultimately proved to be very … political. Very early on, his supporters had denounced machinations to remove their leader. Along the way, this thesis was confirmed, given the emptiness of the prosecution’s case. But the man is still in prison and his appeal has been dragging on for several months.
In the puzzle of the Kamerhe case, there was a missing piece that President Félix Tshisekedi added, in full view of everyone, yesterday in Lubumbashi. Indeed, one of the most important clauses of the Nairobi agreement that convinced Vital Kamerhe to withdraw from the 2018 presidential elections in favour of Félix Tshisekedi – betraying with the latter the Geneva agreement concluded a few days earlier – was that in 2023, he would be the coalition’s candidate for the presidential elections. Naïveté or political short-sightedness? In any case, the president of the UNC, by signing such an agreement, seemed to ignore or, in any case, seriously minimised two fundamental principles in politics: power corrupts and power entices. Very early on, Félix Tshisekedi felt the weight of this heavy promise that he would have difficulty keeping: he did nothing to help his friend out of trouble or perhaps even did everything to get rid of this ally who had become an embarrassment for his ambition to run again.
The Congolese President, who has never said what his intentions are in relation to 2023, finally threw off the mask on Wednesday. « I will present you with a programme that will take into account all the territories of Congo. You will see how we are going to change the Congo by the 2023 elections. I will come back to you to ask you, if you are happy with my management until 2023, give me your votes again so that I continue.
Alea jacta est. It is now abundantly clear. The Nairobi agreement is well and truly thrown in the bin. Vital Kamerhe could not be kept free, even if he was innocent.