Bruno Tshibala - prime minister, Democratic Republic of Congo HARDtalk


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Bruno Tshibala - prime minister, Democratic Republic of Congo

Stephen Sackur speaks to prime minister Bruno Tshibala of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Can the country find a path to prosperity?


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the Iran nuclear deal.

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Now on BBC News - HARDtalk.

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Welcome to HARDtalk. I am Stephen

Sackur. The Democratic Republic of

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Congo boasts assets that should make

it the envy of all Africa. Plentiful

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land, resources, and the youthful

population. But the PRC has never

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come close to fulfilling its

potential. Thanks to political

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division, intercommunal violence,

and epic levels of corruption. My

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guess today is the DRC's Prime

Minister, Bruno Tshibala. Can he is

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country finally find a pathway to

prosperity?

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Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala,

welcome to HARDtalk.

Thank you.

Mr

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Prime Minister, would you agree that

no African country has been more

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letdown by its political leaders

over the last 40 years then it your

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own country, the Democratic Republic

of Congo?

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But isn't it your own leader, the

president of the country today,

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Joseph Kabila, who has generated a

huge amount of instability in your

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country by refusing to leave office

when he was supposed to leave

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office. His term in office should

have finished in December 20 16. It

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is still not clear, even today, if

he is prepared to leave the

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presidency.

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Prime Minister, that deal is not

really worth the paper it is written

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on. In several important ways,

President Kabila has already broken

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the transition deal that was signed

in December 2016. That deal made it

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clear that the Prime Minister should

be nominated by the opposition, but

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you were the Prime Minister and you

were not nominated by the

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opposition, you were nominated by

President Kabila himself.

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Exactly. The president pointed your

Prime Minister. The opposition did

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not choose you, the President chose

you. In fact, the leader of your own

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opposition party, when you decided

to cross the lines and joined the

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government as Prime Minister, your

own leader of the macro six party,

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which was your party, said he needs

the money. And by appointing Bruno

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Tshibala, President Kabila has

violated the terms of the transition

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agreement.

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You make it sound so smooth, Mr

Prime Minister, but in fact what you

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did was seen by the opposition in

the DRC as a betrayal. You are a

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former opposition man, you are now

at the head of a government which is

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shooting political protest is. How

do you feel about that?

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Why have your troops been firing

tear gas into churches? Why have

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dozens of people being killed? And

why is the spokesman of the

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President now describing the

Catholic Church as a Trojan horse of

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ambitious politicians who are hiding

inside churches? What is going on

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here?

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How many political prisoners are

there in B DRC today, Prime

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Minister? Just give me a number.

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Two cases. How is it the Secretary

General of the UN stabilisation

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Mission in your country, on the

fifth of January, expressed deep

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concern that at least 107 political

prisoners are currently in

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detention. Hang on. Are you accusing

the chief of the UN stabilisation

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Mission of lining? -- lying?

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Well, that sounds like a very subtle

distinction to me. The same

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stabilisation Mission said this in

January, that is just two short

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months ago. Journalist, political

opponents, and civil society

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activists are the systematic targets

of violations by Agence of the State

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and 98%, 98% of the perpetrators of

these abuses, estate agents, are

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enjoying impunity, they never being

prosecuted. -- state agents.

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You seem to have a very subtle view

of what represents an opposition

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activist. But I put this to you, I

wonder how your own conscience fails

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when, in October 2017, dozens of

opposition members, from your own

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political party, were arrested. And

you are now the Prime Minister

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overseeing a security force that is

arresting members of your own party.

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How did you feel about that?

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So your former party colleagues,

your former party colleagues have

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now become revolutionaries, have

they? They are fermenting an

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uprising. What strikes me is that

your first duty as Prime Minister is

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to ensure the peace and stability of

your nation, but you seem, with

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respect, in the past EU have been in

your job, to have completely failed.

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The International Crisis Group says

that right now in DRC at least ten

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provinces are in the grip of armed

conflict, generating one of the

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world's worst humanitarian crises.

So there is no stability in your

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country today.

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But, Mr Prime Minister, you seem

very confident the elections will

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take place at the end of this year.

You know that right now in the west

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of your country and in the east of

your country there are the most

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terrible, terrible violent conflict

is taking place. We are seeing

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civilians, including women and

children, being murdered. And there

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are very serious allegations from

independent human rights groups,

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backed by the United Nations, that

the DRC armed forces are involved in

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some of those egregious abuses. Are

you aware of that? And do you

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believe that is true?

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Take care.

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this militia you are talking

about... But are just want to be

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clear with our audience who do not

know, this militia you are talking

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about who has beheaded people, has

killed pregnant women and their

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unborn foetuses, this militia is

accused of being in alliance with

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elements of your own armed forces.

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But, Prime Minister, Prime Minister

is I... The thing is, Prime

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Minister, there is a very serious

allegation at the heart of this

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humanitarian crisis in your country

and I put it to you in the words of

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the National Federation for human

rights. They said recently, "The

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atrocities being committed in DRC

are part of a scheme of President

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Joseph Kabila's regime to mobilise

tension and violence in order to

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retain power"

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tension and violence in order to

retain power". That is a very

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shocking allegation.

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You make it sound as though all of

these humanitarian and security

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problems are in the past at the

figures suggest they're not. In the

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last year, nearly 2 million of your

citizens have been forced to flee

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from their homes because of

violence. That's the figure from

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Care International, one of the NGOs

that works in your country. I put it

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to you that when you tell me the

election will take place definitely,

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for sure, in December 2018, it is

impossible to imagine how a

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meaningful free, fair, safe election

can take place in this context. How

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can it?

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Perhaps the single thing that could

make the biggest difference to the

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situation in your country today is

if President Kabila himself would

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confirm publicly, once and for all,

that he is not going to run again,

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he is not going to seek to change

the Constitution, he is not going to

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seek a third term in office and then

perhaps the DIC could begin to look

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to a new future. -- DRC. Will the

president say those words?

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Do you trust, do you trust, do you

trust... Do you trust President

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Kabila?

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Because in the end, Mr Prime

Minister, you have an important job

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but let's be honest, if the

President who calls the shots in

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your country so if he wants to run

for a third term, you're not going

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to be able to stop him. Not only

that, he also, he and his family,

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control unimaginable amounts of

wealth in the DRC today. They sit at

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the top of what many people believed

to be one of the most corrupt

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systems of governance in the entire

world. 13 million of your people, 8

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million children, currently need

humanitarian assistance and security

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protection because of the crisis in

your country and at the very same

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time, there is a small elite who are

making vast amounts of money from

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the mines, from the foreign

companies, from the revenues that

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come from the mining industry and

most of that money, according to the

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global witness group, is not go into

the DRC Treasury, to be spent on

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healthcare and education. Now, you,

as Prime Minister, have not tackled

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that corruption, have you?

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If I may, I'm sorry to interrupt.

Global Witness had done a lot of

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work on the mining revenues that

come from all of the different mines

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you have, the foreign companies that

pay revenues to the DRC government,

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according to Global Witness, several

100 and $50 million worth of those

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revenues never reached the treasury

of your government. -- $750 million

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worth. They don't know where that

money went, do you know?

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My last question, Prime Minister. I

began by suggesting that for many

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decades the politicians, the leaders

of DRC have failed the people of

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your country. What promise or what

faith can you give to the people of

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your country that the next five and

ten years ago to see better, more

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honest leadership?

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Prime Minister, thank you very much

for being on HARDtalk.

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) boasts assets that ought to be the envy of Africa - vast productive lands, abundant natural resources and a youthful population. But DRC's potential remains unfulfilled thanks to political instability, communal violence and corruption.

Stephen Sackur speaks to the country's prime minister Bruno Tshibala, a one-time opponent of President Kabila who now serves him. Can DRC find a path to prosperity?