OFFICIAL DECLARATION BY Mrs KIMBERLEY REED, Senior Advisor of the OBAMA CAMPAIGN in 2008 (Brussels, 17 June 2010)
I am honored to be here with you today to express my support for, and strong belief in, Rev. Jean-Paul Moka to become the next president of the Democratic Republic of Congo. I came to know Rev. Moka during my service to Barack Obama as the Director of International Operations for his presidential campaign.
My role for President Obama during his campaign was to organize all Americans living outside of the United States, register them to vote in the election (which is a somewhat complicated process for Americans living abroad), and to convince them to vote for Obama rather than his opponent, or rather than not voting at all. Obviously, this worked well for the Obama campaign, since, for the first time in US history, the Democratic Party candidate won the expatriate vote.
My reasons for supporting Rev. Moka are similar to those that led me to support and work for Barack Obama. I believed during the US presidential campaign that the United States was at a crossroads, and that further leadership by the ruling Republican party would degrade the democracy that we have lived under for 230 years and further erode the civil rights and liberties of US citizens.
Congo, without question, is in a much more serious and dangerous situation than the US has ever been – over 4 million of its citizens have died in a so-called civil war (which in fact is a pan-African war); the eastern provinces are overrun with militias and the Congolese army, who kill, loot, and rape at will; over 1200 citizens die each day from disease and starvation; natural resources are stolen and taken over the border to be sold by other countries at huge profit; and corruption continues to be rampant.
Joseph Kabila’s presidency has been a failure, and the DRC risks anarchy without democracy and institutional reform. Joseph Kabila promised to fight corruption and to build democracy and infrastructure; he has fulfilled none of these promises and indeed, has allowed matters to become much worse.
While George W. Bush’s failures as a president did not approach the catastrophe that Joseph Kabila’s regime has been, Congolese citizens face a similar choice in the next election as Americans did in November 2008: do you sit back and allow the status quo to continue, or do you take control of your own destiny and work your hardest to ensure that a new, more egalitarian and more thoughtful person, who believes that the future of your country lies in a true democracy where the rights of the individual are protected, particularly those who are powerless and defenseless?
Do you, as a Congolese citizen or Congolese descendant, do nothing and allow continued murder, rape and theft from the government and the people, watching your leaders become richer while the average citizens grow poorer and more desperate, or do you stand up and say “NO MORE!”?
A truly democratic DRC clearly benefits the US and the international community, for if stability can be brought to Congo, it will have a positive impact on a huge portion of Africa.
Secure borders and strong, non-corrupt political and social institutions will allow DRC to secure its natural resources and make legitimate and reliable business deals with the West for gold, diamonds, coltan, timber, cotton, oil, and other rich natural resources owned by DRC.
Strong infrastructure, education and agricultural industry would greatly decrease the amount of foreign aid provided to DRC by the US, Canada, the EU and other countries, and would increase the amount of profitable business and trade that can be done to mutually benefit all of these countries.
From a geopolitical viewpoint, a strong and peaceful DRC would allow the world to concentrate further and apply more pressure to address problems in Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, and other African nations, while knowing it has a reliable and stable partner in the DRC.
And speaking as an American, we strongly believe that democracy is the strongest and most legitimate form of government for human beings, and we believe that all of our fellow humans should enjoy the freedoms and rights that we have to elect our own government, transition to new government peacefully, expect that our government will address and provide basic needs for all of its citizens, and provide opportunities for every person to achieve to the full extent of his or her potential.
DRC needs a true democratic leader -- it needs hope, it needs change. It needs a person of vision who will not use the office of the president simply to gain personal wealth, or to have political opponents silenced through kidnapping, torture and murder.
DRC has waited too long, and you, the people of Congo, must say “Enough! The time has come for justice! The time has come for peace! The time has come for our government to listen to and protect our people! The time has come… for President Jean-Paul Moka!”
You can connect with Mr. Jean-Paul Moka on Facebook.