Kabila meets President Mugabe amid DRC protests

Staff Reporter

DRC president Joseph Kabila flew into Harare Thursday for talks amid unrest back home with his government cracking down on the opposition ahed of elections next year.

Kabila, who has been in power for the constitutionally limited two terms, is thought to want to extend his tenure which has sparked months of violent protests.

His government has responded with a tough crackdown against the opposition with many activists arrested.

President Robert Mugabe sent Zimbabwean soldiers to save Kabila’s father as he was about to be ousted by rebels who invaded from Uganda and Rwanda in 1998.

Mugabe is currently Africa Union chairman.

“My brother here paid us a visit. He has been away from us for a long time but very busy in his own country which is much larger than ours,” Mugabe told reporters after meeting Kabila at State House in Harare.

“He gave an account of how they are organising themselves geographically and politically in order to unite the people and they feel they are getting there.

“They are also, just now, trying to prepare for local elections, which will lead to national ones.”

Responding the DRC leader said: “I came back home after quite some time.

“We talked about the region and the Congo but especially relations between these two countries, Zimbabwe and DRC relations that we need to continue to reinforce and consolidate in all spheres that is economic, political and defence.

 “Our political process is an ongoing one which will definitely culminate in dialogue and then elections later on.

“We are steadfast and I have invited the President to come to Kinshasa one of these days just as I am going to come back soon.”

Kabila’s father allegedly promised to repay Zimbabwe with economic deals after Harare helped repulse the rebels who had almost overrun the DRC capital Kinshasa.

But Zimbabwe saw little of the promised deals with South African companies winning lucrative concessions in the mineral-rich country.

The development is understood to still rankle with authorities in Harare as the country lost hundreds of soldiers and key military hardware in the DRC war.

The conflict also cost millions in foreign currency which Zimbabwe then had very little of, helping start an economic crisis that has lasted more than a decade.

Mugabe said Thursday that their talks also touched on economic matters.

“We talked about the economy as well and you know they are very rich in resources but like ours, they are underground,” said the veteran leader.

“They have diamonds, cooper gold and they have what we don’t have, oil. They possess them.

“Once upon a time a country called Belgium pretended to be master of what they call the Congo but they have been dismissed and people are free.”


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