The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of the African Union, Félix Tshisekedi, will take the head of ECCAS next year. He will succeed Denis Sassou N'Guesso.
At the head of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), one Congo gives way to another Congo. The President of the ECCAS Commission, Gilberto Da Piedade Verissimo, declared after a meeting with Félix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa that the President of the DRC "Gave his agreement to succeed his counterpart Denis Sassou N'Guesso". An agreement probably overseen by the "emperor" who, in 2022, will count ten years cumulative at the head of the body. The president of Congo-Brazzaville will give up his position with a positive balance sheet.
Denis Sassou N'Guesso will pass the torch to his counterpart and neighbor in Kinshasa after two particularly lively years within ECCAS. From economic concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic to a year of drought in the region, through an economic recession ... Despite the elements to his detriment, Sassou N'Guesso managed to hold the helm of the proceedings, standing out from the passivity of Ali Bongo, before him. Diplomacy was at the heart of DSN's mandate: management of the Central African crisis, death of Idriss Déby and settlement of tensions in Chad : Denis Sassou N'Guesso succeeded, with ECCAS, in imposing peace in each of these files.
Tshisekedi in the big leagues
For his part, Félix Tshisekedi chaired the African Union (AU). Its record is more mixed within the continental body. But relations between the two Congos have been more intense in recent months, which certainly explains the return of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the head of ECCAS. If, in the 1980s and 1990s, the DRC chained two years of presidency and fourteen years at the head of the Commission, it was absent from the governing bodies of ECCAS since 1998. Whether for the Conference of Heads of State and government or ECCAS Commission, Central Africa clearly prefers more experienced leaders. Idriss Déby and Ali Bongo were thus much more in demand than the successive presidents of the DRC.
Until the declaration of the Angolan Gilberto Da Piedade Verissimo, the forecasts concerning the succession of Denis Sassou N'Guesso were going well: the tendencies lean more towards Angola. President João Lourenço was indeed expected to take over from DSN. Persistent rumors also spoke of a Rwandan presidency. However, with Lourenço who is piloting a major national economic plan in his country and Paul Kagame who has decided to turn to East Africa, Félix Tshisekedi had a good card to play.
In the past, the presidency of ECCAS was symbolic. But the intervention of ECCAS during the crisis on the borders between Chad and the CAR, as well as the lifting of the embargo in the Central African Republic have restored the image of the body, which has become a real tool of diplomacy for Africa. central. The agreement on the rescheduling of debts by the IMF and the World Bank, piloted by ECCAS on behalf of all the countries of the sub-region, has moreover been one of the successes of ECCAS in recent years, despite a intense European pressure. On this last point, the good relations between Tshisekedi and the United States weighed heavily.
Diplomacy: the DRC is becoming hyperactive
Since the start of his mandate at the head of the AU, Félix Tshisekedi has been able to maintain a balance in its relations with the various diplomats. Since becoming president of the DRC, the country has never had such good relations with its neighbors. Tshisekedi's balancing act in his relations with Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Congo-Brazzaville is quite a feat.
Because this has not always been the case. Until last May, the DRC was experiencing tensions with the countries of East Africa. Currently, not only is Tshisekedi supported by four EAC countries commercially and militarily, but he even seeks to integrate the community.
Under Kabila, the DRC's African diplomacy was at its lowest. Between the management of the Angolan refugee crisis, the explosion of the terrorist phenomenon in the east of the country - Kabila was particularly passive in the fight against terrorism -, the hostility towards the authorities of South Sudan and the inexistence of relations with Tanzania, Zambia and the Central African Republic, Kabila left many projects to his successor.
16 years of reign of Kabila and a calamitous balance sheet as well social, economic or diplomatic. #KabilaMustGo the nation deserves better!
- 2VK (@Mrs__Excellence) May 23, 2017