1 country, 9 political parties, 10 Fempo women : Our brief explainer...
While reading through the profiles of the candidates featured on Fempo.net, you might have been struck by the alphabet soup of political party acronyms:
BUREC, ADR, LIDEC, AMP etc.
If you were wondering what they mean then this blog post is for you.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) we have more than 400 political parties. Since 1990, when the country officially opened itself to a multi-party political system, any Congolese person could create their own political party or join one of their own choosing.
Amongst the dynamic succession of political alliances and divisions that make up our parliament, most political parties fall into one of the three main groups:
The Alliance for the majority (in french “Alliance pour la majorité presidentielle,” or AMP) is a political alliance supporting the current President, Joseph Kabila. This alliance currently holds the majority of seats in the National Assembly, hence it is commonly referred to simply as “the majority.” .
The opposition is comprised of political parties who hold a minority of seats in the National Assembly and oppose the majority.
The independents are those who are aligned with neither side, claiming they work only for the people.
Being strictly non-partisan, Fempo.net currently features Congolese women candidates from nine different parties, representing all three main groups.
Here is a brief descriptions of each of these political parties (in alphabetical order):
Alliances of Democratic Forces of Congo,
(Alliances des Forces Démocratiques du Congo)
The AFDC is political party of the majority that stands for social democracy. Its main ideas are the promotion of active, creative and responsible citizenship as a cornerstone for democratic participation.
Since 2010 when he created the party, founder and current president Bahati Lukwebo has left the parliament seat he held for 11 years to become current state minister of planning.
Fempo.net supports Solange Nyenyezi, who is also the national treasurer for the party.
Alliance for development and the republic
(Alliance pour le développement et la république)
Since its inception in 2011, the Adr has been led by Francois Muamba, a former state minister and the party’s founder. Only recently did Elvis Mutiri, former minister of tourism, take the helm of the party.
The Adr defines itself as a liberal humanist party, one that works for the prosperity of Congolese society through free trade and equal distribution of wealth.
It is part of the opposition.
Fempo.net supports two women from the Adr, Malaika Gakuru and Chantal Faida.
The Alliance for the renewal of Congo
(Alliance pour le renouveau du Congo)
ARC was founded by Olivier Kamitatu in January 2006 to “instill a new sense of dignity” within the Congolese population.
We support Neema Bikaylwira who is, not only a member of ARC, but also the president of ARC’s federal committee in North Kivu.
United Bloc for the Reconstruction and the Emergence of Congo
(Bloc unis pour la Reconstruction et l'Émergence du Congo)
Founded in 2012 by Julien Paluku Kahongya, the current governor of the North-Kivu province, BUREC aims to be the guardian of “unity, secularism and democracy” in DRC.
This in order to promote a profound transformation of Congolese society and improve the welfare of the Congolese population.
This transformation is highlighted in the party’s emblem, which is a rooster breaking out of an egg on a field of blue.
Despite being established after the last electoral cycle, BUREC is part of the majority. Kavira Sivalingana is an influential member of BUREC and a woman we support .
League of Congolese Democrats,
(Ligues des démocrates congolais)
LIDEC was created in November 2010, by Angèle Makombo Eboum, who is currently its president. She worked as a UN official for about 24 years during which she focused on conflict resolution in Africa.
LIDEC is a party of the opposition seeking to educate, train and raise awareness of Congolese people in relation to the principles highlighted in their motto "Democracy, Justice, Solidarity and Sustainable Development”. This, they believe, is the key to achieving sustainable change, to spark progress and foster economic and social development.
LIDEC is the only party in this list that was founded and is led by a woman and Fempo.net is wholly supportive of one of its most proactive members, Anne- Marie Makombo Kamwanya.
Liberation Movement of Congo
(Le Mouvement de Libération du Congo)
Founded in 2003, the MLC Is a former rebel group that evolve into a political party at the end of the Second Congo war.
Throughout its tumultuous history, the MLC has worked for the respect of democratic principles, the promotion of ethics and the establishment of rule of law. This party defends political democracy, economic liberalism, social solidarity and philosophical humanism.
MLC was originally led by Jean Pierre Bemba, a former business man and vice president of DRC, before he was indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Currently the party is led by its secretary general, Eve Bazaiba and is vehemently opposed to the majority.
Fempo.net supports MLC member Marie Josée Bunsana.
Movement of Liberal Reformers
(Mouvement des réformateur libéraux)
Created in 2015, MRL is a party from the majority seeking to promote a liberal vision of economic growth, political democracy, social justice and international solidarity.
Its president and founder is Patrick Kakwata, an ex-senator and currently a representative in parliament
Fempo.net features and supports Mado Chanda, a dynamic contributor to the vision of the MRL.
Social Movement for the Renewal [of DRC]
(Mouvement social pour le renouveau)
MSR, is a political party created shortly before the legislative and presidential elections of 2006. It was founded and is still led by Pierre Lumbi, who was minister of infrastructures, public work and reconstruction from 2007 to 2010.
At its inception, MSR aimed at fostering greater social cohesion. Its core belief was that the real change Congolese society deeply needs for its renewal could only be harvested by sticking together, like corn on a cob (the party’s symbol). Thus, MSR emphasizes the holding of free transparent elections and the legitimacy of electoral polls. It also vehemently condemns political intolerance and denounces secret political factions, cheating and electoral manipulation.
It is interesting to note that MSR in 2006 was a party that campaigned for the election of President Joseph Kabila, but recently it has moved into the opposition.
MSR member Kinja Mwendanga is an elected representative, quaestor for the provincial assembly in North-Kivu and is featured on fempo.net.
Original African Democratic Union.
(l’Union Démocratique Africaine Originelle)
The recently reborn in 2013. Original UDA follows the motto, "Unity, Justice and Social Progress" and has adopted a socialist ideology. This party opposes any political system whose aims do not fit with the interests and deep aspirations of the Kasai population in particular and DRC in general.
And this shows in their coat of arms: A red-blood map of Congo (symbolizing martyrdom), a golden corncob and a diamond symbolizing the country’s wealth, a hoe and a machete signifying work and nationwide participation
André G. Lubaya is the current president of the party and Fempo.net supports its main communications officer, Nadia Mavuba Kimena.
The Original UDA is an independent party.
And there you have it, nine political parties, ten women from one country.
Do not hesitate to browse through their profiles and contact them on their individual social media platforms.