Without concrete results to back up his bold claims, the mantra "Africa needs strong institutions, not strong men" has started to wear out. Increasingly the unanswered question remains how to get there. Doug Saunders touches on this when writing about Poland:
"Why has Poland, which had a typically awful time during its years of privatization in the 1990s, as did Ukraine and Russia, surge so far ahead of its neighbours in both democracy and economy?"An gave the usual political correct answer:
"it is clear from any visit to Poland that well-established democratic institutions have more to do with it"The unanswered question, the elephant in the room, remains off course how to get there. In the case of Poland it's obvious that solidarnosc's struggle for freedom in the eighties should not be overlooked.
When discussing Congolese politics Etienne Tshisekedi's UDPS, founded in the eighties, and it's struggle for democratization is often overlooked or overshadowed by the donor-sponsored state-building project that was launched in the DRC at the beginning of the transition in 2003.
It seems logical that operations against LRA and other rebel movements operating in central Africa should be part of a broader counter insurgency strategy adressing both political and economic motivations for violence.
Strong institutions won't be created by focusing on gender equality or the participation of youth in the Congolese elections as Maria Otero did at the brooking institute. Or by claiming with Jendayi Elizabeth Frazer:
"that the problems in eastern Congo today are not Rwandan, they’re Congolese"Lech Walesa's struggle in Poland provides us insight into how external parties like US President John F. Kennedy and the Polish Pope John Paul II helped shape the narrative in which solidarnosc succeed to build it's strong, diverse and coherent coalition.
Peacefull elections and the emergence of a coherent Congolese opposition is in the interest of Congo and it's citizens, but will also have a deep impact on the foreign policy credibility of US President Barack Obama.
This week Q&A with Tshisekedi in France to get an idea. A lot of focus on Hypolite Kanambe, ignoring the question on the exclusion of raped women, the theater at the end, mmm. I am not impressed. Reminds me of Dutch prime-minister's words characterizing the coalition negotiations by saying:
"this is how sausage is made"