As with ancient Roman tradition, our military will only come out of its barracks to accomplish a specific mission. Therefore we will set up a national police force to ensure the lawful conduct by all Congolese citizens. This institution will secure and reassure our population and their property, fight against crime and delinquency, protect the symbols of our institutions, and maintain public order.
We will close the dungeons and other places of illegal detention. We will proceed to an in-depth reform of the Intelligence Services, sclerotic since the time of Marshal Mobutu, to make it a professional body, conforming to the standards of our time, capable of carrying out their mission in the interest of The People rather than being committed to the service of an individual, even the Head of State.
A major objective of my administration will be to stand up, within five years, an army worthy of the name. It must be capable of managing and defending its borders, establishing an effective chain of command, as well as exercising its authority throughout the national territory. To this end, we will introduce a five year plan we call ‘One Nation, One Army’ to consolidate a legitimate military authority in the DRC.
Its missions will be straightforward, but challenging. First, to defend our borders from external threats, and from insurgency within. Second, to eradicate armed militias which have transformed some regions into hellish enclaves where looting, rape, and killing take place with near impunity.
We will take vigorous measures put an end to the chronic absence of discipline within the army, which is today like a body without soul. These will involve, among other things, raising recruitment standards, regular pay, better training, improving food and housing conditions, qualifications for promotions. We will endow the army with a Code of Conduct with an associated range of sanctions, without which any discussion of discipline is useless.
JUSTICE AND RULE OF LAW
The implementation of our reform agenda requires, above all, that our country gains a healthy respect for the rule of law. We must have a government capable of maintaining public order while ensuring the judicial and legal security of persons and their property.
We will build a lawful nation whose organization and functions also adhere to the principles of the rule of law, including respect for international agreements and treaties. We will rid the justice system of corrupt values such as abuse of power, the trading of influence, favoritism and tribalism, the disrespect of authority, administrative apathy, and the dysfunction of the courts and other judicial organs.
We will present to Parliament a draft law consolidating guarantees of freedom of expression and association to ensure the rights of a free press, human rights organizations, and peaceful opposition political activity.
We will restore the principal of the separation of powers to ensure an independent Judiciary. We will rewrite the laws on the organization and functioning of the Superior Council of Magistracy, with a view to ensuring its autonomy and impartiality. We will prioritize in our budget funding for improvements of the working conditions of judicial personnel and providing them with the modern tools they require to do their jobs. We will train Magistrates, the judiciary, and penitentiary staff in the use of the computer and the internet, as essential for the efficiency of our judicial system. We will protect the Magistrate, the centerpiece of justice, against corruptive pressures from various circles, through better professional and legal safeguards.
We will launch a gradual and controlled decentralization process. To this end, we commit ourselves to rewrite the law on the programming of territorial division. We will streamline the process each individual province, regardless of size, to guide to its own development. We will revisit the restructuring these decentralized provinces which, we believe, was purposely accelerated to confuse the electoral process in 2016.
The destiny of the DRC is not only that of a State, it is above all that of an entire people. Therefore, like my father, Etienne Tshisekedi Wa Mulumba on whose shoulders I stand, I shout with all my sincerity: "The people first!"
This cry is not for me just a shallow slogan, but a genuine rallying call to what underlies my true political commitment; to serve this primary sovereign population by which one is given a mandate of trust. For “The People First," I propose three pillars for job-creation and economic growth; investment in security and anti-corruption, investment in education and health, investment in infrastructure.
The DRC has the good fortune to have a tremeondous wealth of natural resources in its soil. However, the abundance or lack of natural resources does not seem to be a determining factor in the creation of wealth in many other nations. What does is good governance and responsible management of those resources. Countries that have lifted themselves out from under the yoke of poverty in one or two generations have achieved their goals, or are in the process of doing so, through the will and policies of their respective governments.
I consider that the health, welfare and education of the Congolese people is not simply about spending. The average age of the Congolese population is very young. This youth shows a vitality and aggressiveness that only needs to be well channeled, coupled with education and work, to become the spearhead of a rapid creation of prosperity. Once our people are provided a reasonable level of education and offered the opportunity to prosper, will prosper. They will become our primary resource in our campaign to overcome poverty.
Investment and Trade
We will create the confidence and dynamism that the world investment community looks for by finalizing the process of implementation of the Treaty and the Uniform Acts of the Organization for Harmonization in Africa of Business Law (OHADA), whose ambition we share to propel economic development and create a vast integrated market in order to make Africa an attractive place for investors.
We will set up an Investment Charter that will introduce an incentive tax system for new industrial companies and exporters. The Charter will also allow the merging of two public agencies previously in charge of investment: the National Agency for the Promotion of Industry (ANAPI) and the Ministry of Planning charged with the management of the Investment Code.
We will initiate legislation to track down, flush out and punish very severely any act of corruption and ensure that the functioning of commercial and labor courts is fair and effective. We will review and reorganize access channels to administrative functions with single points of contact and improve operational response. In order to ensure peace and social cohesion, we will ceate a framework for social dialogue with the objective of encouraging a consensus between industry, government, and social welfare groups in a spirit of transparency and participatory democracy.
We will protect and enforce private property and intellectual property rights. We will fight monopolistic forces and encourage fair trade practices.
It is estimated that the mineral wealth under our beautiful landscape is valued at over 4 trillion US dollars. Historically, much of the benefit of this precious bounty of mineral exports has been siphoned off for the profit of outside actors with the complicity of kleptocratic government administrators. We will institute a new level of transparency to contracts and statistics along with more rigorous export controls to ensure that our mineral wealth is properly captured, channeled, and reinvested in our country for the benefit of all Congolese.
We will also work more dilligently with the international community of mineral processors and end-user stakeholders to ensure that supply chains are clear of ‘conflict minerals’ that might support militia groups, child and forced labor, unsafe conditions, and other ‘bad actors’ and special interets within the extractive industry in the DRC.
Throughout the DRC, there is drastic need for basic infrastructure. Whatever limited systems were once functioning now lie in a state of absolute neglect, breakdown and obsolescence. We will work with public and private investment partners to develop a coherent policy for ongoing investment in our transportation systems including roads, railways, ports on our waterways and lakes, air navigation and airports. In addition, we need to expand electric power generation capability and the distribution grid, plus alternative sources such as solar, geothermal, and other new technological solutions. We need better communications and internet access for our economy to function in the modern data driven world.
At the community level, need to rehabilitate and modernize the work of the regular maintenance of agricultural feeder roads to allow farmers and small industry continued access to markets and revenue. This will also give the peasant a place in the greater economic development context.
One of our top priorities will be to review every possible solution to provide access for all citizens to clean drinking water and sanitation. We will develop an incentive policy to encourage young doctors, medical assistants, nurses and other health personnel to settle in the hinterland. We will enhance cooperation with international health organizations to fight infectious diseases that continue to plague our country such as HIV AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and ebola outbreaks. We will need many more and better-equipped hospitals and neighborhood clinics to serve our current and growing population. We will put special emphasis on women’s health issues regarding such matters as contraception, pregnancy, cancer screening, emotional support.
We will upgrade the availability and quality of our entire education system, especially early childhood education. Without education, a youth is a social time bomb. We will impose and put into practice the principle that every young Congolese has the equal right and responsibility to attend nursery, primary and secondary school.
As the foundation of our educational system, we will improve teacher training and revamp the complete educational mission of accessibility, curriculum, pedagogical dynamics, vocational and technical training, continuing education of adults, and school financing. We will promote a public-private partnership to create a "Silicon Valley" type of center of excellence to stimulate research and teaching of new technologies, as a collaboration between Congolese and foreign universities. We will promote gender equality and women's empowerment, seeking to remove any roadblocks to education, job training and work. In short, my administration will invest time, energy, and funding resources to develop the minds our country needs to take part in the world of the twenty-first century.
Extraversion is the term that defines how African countries since colonial times have been historically dependent on outside sources and forces for support. My government will focus on regaining control of domestic markets and address this serious and long-standing extraversion of our economy and thereby reduce its vulnerability to external influence and disruption. This is not to say that we will not seek advice from any corner. However, we will take care not to compromise our national integrity or the good of or people for the benefit of the few.
We will, to improve transparency in the management of public resources and secure investors, review and modernize relevant codes and streamline processes. This includes areas such as public procurement, labor organization, and insurance markets, as well as tax policy, customs, oil, mining and forestry.
Given the chance through a revitalized economy, our industrious population will cease to be the problem and become the solution. It will create, it will produce, it will consume, it will export products and resources, and it will import what the world has to offer in fair trade. My administration will seek to put in place policies to ensure a growing and inclusive economy so that all Congolese will have the opportunity to share in it. This would be the crowning achievement of our agenda and what the world might come to see as the "Congolese Miracle.”
We will promote and support the concept of entrepreneurship in the DRC to encourage small business. Small farmers are the backbone of our agriculture system and must be supported with ways to acquire better tools and storage facilities such as encouraging farmer cooperatives. Improved roadways will allow them to get their produce to market.
We will strengthen policies regarding management of our forests to regulate timber harvest and other exploitation to preserve its ecosystems and biodiversity. This unique resource is our heritage and must be respected for its critical role in the earth’s ecosystem and animal habitat. It is also a storehouse for scientific and medical research, as well as a source of potential tourism revenue to the local and central government.
We will educate and encourage farmers to be protectors of our soil and water through organic and more efficient farming methods.
We will ensure the DRC makes a rapid return and has a permanent presence on the international scene where the major global issues are played out. The DRC will thus regain its leading role in regional cooperation and integration, as well as the place it deserves in the concert of nations.
We will promote in the DRC, a country surrounded by nine neighbors, a ‘good neighbor’ policy as a foundation for mutually beneficial peaceful cohabitation. We will seek a lasting political solution to the conflicts between the communities of Eastern DRC by targeting the root causes and create the conditions for a frank and direct dialogue with neighboring Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda.
We will revisit our international relations and cooperation outside Africa. Mutually beneficial principles will prevail in all these reforms as the basis of any partnership. We will seek to create a State capable of conducting responsible diplomacy and foreign policy, based on fair bi-lateral principles.
We will restore the international credibility of the DRC's diplomatic missions and give the Congolese diplomats the prestige they no longer have. The debts accumulated since the beginning of the eighties will be paid off. A new salary scale and level of operating costs will be set. The criterion of excellence will be reintroduced in the recruitment of diplomats. We will rationalize, by deletion or reorganization, the number of diplomats and their missions abroad on the basis of both their utility and the budgetary means of the DRC so as to ensure their capability to fulfill their responsibilities.
We will encourage a harmonization and integration of diplomatic policy which is a vital necessity for the DRC. Faced with the numerous international structures in which our country is represented, we will establish a priority among them with a clear view of the objectives to be acheived in each. This rationalization could lead to withdrawal of one or another of these responsibilities. We will establish a match between this presence in the various organizations and the budgetary resources of the Republic to avoid the accumulation of debt that deprives it of a deliberative voice and make pointless even of its presence. Wherever we decide to continue, we will increase the participation of the DRC in implementing collective security mechanisms to establish the stability of the Republic’s institutions in the region.
Building a Proud and Unified Society
The public policies implemented in the DRC have created a gap between the political leaders who are piloting the ship of state only for themselves while leaving the Congolese people far behind. We must not look elsewhere for the cause of our floundering, adrift in a sea of desperation.
That is why I promise to all Congolese that I will always seek to implement an agenda for the benefit all who wish to work and contribute for the better management of our country. In an effort to break with the past, I will appoint a diverse group of men and women at the center of the economy and throughout the government. In this way, a broader range of Congolese will become, not only the main engine and fuel of development, but also the beneficiaries of the fruits of its success.
The reconciliation of the Congolese diaspora around the world with their country is an imperative. We wish to encourage them to join their countrymen and women back in the DRC, to participate in the work of the re-foundation of a prosperous country for the benefit of ALL of its people. We intend to make the Congolese abroad one of the factors generating economic growth by granting them freedom to transfer funds, trade, and most importantly, invest in their homeland.
We are a country of many divisions, even going back before colonization. These divisions have often been used to further divide us, weaken us, manipulate us for the benefit of a few self-anointed elites. I believe the time has come now for us to stand and take steps toward a different destiny, toward unity, toward hope, and toward a productive civilized society as the beating heart of an emerging Africa.
FELIX TSHISEKEDI TSHILOMBO