Critics of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President
Joseph Kabila's government have welcomed with open arms Thursday's
resignation of Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga. Prime Minister Gizenga tendered his
resignation to President Kabila claiming his age and health make it impossible
for him to effectively perform his duties. But his critics say he has failed to
revive the country's faltering economy and end violent clashes between the army
observers say Gizenga attained his position as a political reward for
reportedly instructing his opposition Unified Lumumbist Party (PALU) to back
Kabila in the 2006 presidential run-off vote. Jack Kahora is the VOA
correspondent. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from North Kivu's capital, Goma
that Prime Minster Gizenga disappointed a lot of Congolese.
"Apart from those people from
Gizenga's political party, most people are very happy with his decision because
they have been waiting for this decision for a very long time. This is because
since Gizenga was appointed as a prime minister there is nothing that has
changed whereas most of the people were really hopeful he would deliver. They
were expecting to see the social life changing positively they were expecting
security to being established in the country so that people can move freely and
have their lives back and deal with business, but this was not the case,"
He said the former prime
minister did not live up to his billing.
"So, he was a total
disappointment in the lives of people. Economically, the situation on the
ground has become worse as well as the social life than it used to be. Nurses,
teaches, and doctors are all on strike so the conditions of life here are
really difficult here in the eastern part of Congo. There are repetitive wars
and his resignation was surprising for Congolese, they were expecting this and
they appreciate this decision," he said.
Kahora said there seems to
be an overwhelming perspective that the prime minister let most people who had
faith in him down.
"Yes people lost confidence
in him because first of all they were too hopeful in him. You know he was the
vice prime minister in the 1960s just after the independence of DRC, they saw
how the government played a significant role in transforming the lives of the
people, but this was not the case. People were expecting the same Gizenga in
the 1060s, and even those who only heard about his exploits during those
periods wanted him to do the same thing after he was appointed as the prime
minister in DRC, but this was not the case," Kahora pointed out.
He said plans announced by
the government seem to have been neglected.
"They had an initial plan,
which was proposed to the national assembly and even the senate, but two years
after he was appointed there is really nothing and there is no improvement.
People are saying that this is not the government they want and they don't have
hope in this government," he said.
Kahora said the government
has the richness and manpower available to help in transforming the country
into a prosperous one, but he said the people's hopes have been seriously dented.
"Congo is not like other
countries. Congo is a very rich country, which has got minerals, which has got
nine different countries, which are bordering it. And you have to understand
that the more you have borders the more you can also have income in terms of
taxes. Not only this, but also Congo is a very strong because it has got 60
million people this is to mean that labor is very strong. But how can such a
prime minister who has got everything, but was not able to transform the
country with all these at his disposal," Kahora asked.