A change of priorities
IT WAS way back at the start of 2011 that a young and dashing Joseph Kabila took control of the Democratic Republic of Congo. His father was Laurent Kabila, a rebel leader who ousted the government of Mobutu Sese Seko with the help of Uganda and Rwanda.
Kabila senior proclaimed himself president and changed the name of the country from Zaire to the DRC. He ruled until he was killed by one of his own bodyguards.
Just over a week after his death, the young Kabila took over. With him came the hope of peace in a country torn apart by conflict.
But it was not to be. Kabila failed to win the hearts of his countrymen and to unite them.
Even today the DRC continues to be ravaged by fighting, especially in the eastern part of the country where rebels operate, allegedly with the support of Uganda and Rwanda.
Ironically, it was the same two countries that propelled Kabila senior to power.
The young Kabila held elections a few years after he took office. He was elected president in 2006 and was re-elected for a second term in 2011.
His second term in office expired on December 20 last year, but Kabila has chosen not to hold elections until early next year. As a result, he was heavily criticised by his countrymen and the international community.
A few days ago, Kabila was in South Africa to meet with President Jacob Zuma for a bi-national commission between our two countries.
The two heads of state agreed to strengthen economic ties which, from a South African perspective, is good because the DRC has an abundance of natural resources.
Both leaders agreed that peace, security and stability were important for the region, and Africa as a whole.
But if Kabila and Zuma are genuine about their commitment to growing a peaceful, stable continent, they should do more to put their countries first.