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DRC: Despite the mobilization of significant financial resources, the Sacred Union of Felix Tshisekedi totally misses its meeting at the Martyrs Stadium

At the top of the picture, the Stade des Martyrs at 3 p.m. this Saturday, April 29, 2023 for the USN meeting; at the bottom of the picture, the same Stadium at 11 a.m. © Congo Libéré

This was supposed to be an event to launch the pre-campaign of Felix Tshisekedi for the presidential election theoretically scheduled for the end of 2023. The opportunity for the Sacred Union for the Nation (USN in french), a heterogeneous coalition of political parties, to show its muscles. Unfortunately, the mountain promised on Saturday 29 April in Kinshasa gave birth to a mouse.

This Saturday evening, the leaders of the Sacred Union tried to put on a good show. But the heart was not in it.

Yet it was supposed to be a day of celebration. On April 29, the Sacred Union for the Nation organized a « giant meeting » at the Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa. The objective of the organizers was to fill this venue, which could hold 80,000 people. 20 000 more counting the field. A goal within their reach: Kinshasa is a megalopolis of more than 15 million inhabitants.

At the end of the morning, the promoters of the event think they have met their goal. The stadium is almost full. But this Potemkin village, a pasteboard decor built at great expense, will soon collapse.

At 3 p.m., Kinshasa time and the official start time of the meeting, with speeches by the main figures of the USN (Vital Kamerhe, Jean-Pierre Bemba, Sama Lukonde, Augustin Kabuya, etc.), the Stadium is almost empty. This is the only way to ensure that the people of the city are able to participate in the development of the city and its surroundings. This is the case for the whole of the city, and for the whole of the world. The city is a place where people can live together, where they can learn from each other, and where they can learn from each other and from each other.

What happened? To try to fill the Martyrs Stadium on Saturday, the USN did not skimp on the means: 500 political parties mobilized, 400 churches called to the rescue, hundreds of buses chartered… Above all, in exchange for their coming to this meeting, each participant was given a sum of 10 to 20,000 Congolese francs. « In a country where the population is so deprived and where people live on less than 4 to 5 Congolese francs per day, this is a significant sum. That’s why people came in large numbers in the morning, » said an official of the Lay Coordination Committee (CLC in french).

« People came for the money. Not for the politics »

This is confirmed by the many testimonies of the participants. « We got on the bus very early in the morning, around 6 o’clock (…) On the bus, we were given 10 dollars each. They gave us flags and explained to us how it was going to happen. When we arrived at the stadium at about 7 o’clock, we got off and were taken to the stands to the place reserved for us. Then we waited for a few hours and when we had the opportunity to do so, one by one at first, then in larger and larger groups afterwards, people left, » explains a UniKin student who came with a friend. « People came for the money. I can last a week with this money. They didn’t come for the politics. Here in Kinshasa, people don’t believe in the Sacred Union, » she said, before asking us: « Have you seen the state of the country?

According to a survey published this week by the GEC and Ebuteli, 60% of respondents believe that in the DRC, « things are going in the wrong direction. This is probably an underestimate (polls are difficult to conduct in this country) but it says a lot about the disarray of a population that is very dissatisfied with its leaders and has no choice but to rely on itself to get by day by day.