This is ChimpReports’ Daily Morning East Africa Intelligence Briefing.
The report gives readers an early morning grasp of what’s happening in the Great Lakes region.
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Heavy Gunfire as DRC Forces Battle ADF In North Kivu
Ugandan forces remain on standby on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as military action against Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels continue.
Congolese forces on Monday evening carried out bombings of ADF territory in Mapobu, North East of Oicha in Beni, North Kivu.
The fighting was still raging as early as 5:00am, according to defence officials.
Captain Mak Hazukay, spokesman for Operation Sokola1, said he had called for troops and logistics reinforcement to intensify military operations against ADF in the area.
The Ugandan army maintains readiness at the border to respond to a possible ADF attack.
French Commander of the French troops based in Djibouti Brig General Eric Gernez recently pledged his country’s preparedness to take the cooperation a notch higher by increasing its presence in areas of training and other capability development of the UPDF.
He highlighted some of the developments as training in Mountain warfare which was conducted in the Rwenzori Mountains and invitations of senior UPDF leaders to joint military exercises in Djibouti.
The CDF Gen David Muhoozi said intense training of UPDF in mountain operations will make it easy for the army to deal with volatile ranges of mountain Ruwenzori.
“As ADF spreads its wings across Eastern Congo even attacking UN forces there, we need more and more capabilities to monitor and deter them from using our mountain ranges by deploying specialized forces,” said Gen Muhoozi.
African Leaders to Grace Tshisekedi Inauguration
The swearing-in ceremony of DRC’s president-elect Félix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi, 55, has been postponed from today Tuesday to Thursday.
Officials told ChimpReports today morning preparations were being finalized to cater for big event.
It will be the first time in DRC’s history that a president is handing over instruments of power to a successor at a public ceremony.
DRC’s leaders were either killed or removed by force of arms from power.
Officials said several heads-of-state especially from Southern Africa are expected to attend Tshisekedi’s inauguration.
He is currently the leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), the oldest and largest opposition party of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He is the son of late Étienne Tshisekedi, a three-time Prime Minister of Zaire and opposition leader, and would therefore become the first Congolese president to be related to a Prime Minister.
Early life and education
Tshisekedi was born in Léopoldville on 13 June 1963 to mother Marthe and father Étienne Tshisekedi, who served as Prime Minister of Zaire in the 1990s. His father is of Luba ethnicity. Félix had a comfortable life as a youth in the capital.
However, when his father created the UDPS in the early 1980s, publicly opposing Mobutu, Félix was forced to accompany his dissident father into house arrest in his native village in central Kasaï. This led to him ending his studies. In 1985, Mobutu authorised him, his mother, and his brothers to leave Kasaï. He went on to live in Brussels, Belgium, where he worked at odd jobs and became an active UDPS militant.
In late 2008, Tshisekedi was named as the UDPS National Secretary for external relations. In November 2011, he obtained a seat in the National Assembly, representing the city of Mbuji Mayi in Kasai-Oriental province. He did not take his seat citing a fraudulent election and his mandate was invalidated for “absenteeism”.
In May 2013, he refused a position of rapporteur at the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), saying that he did not want to put his political career on hold as CENI’s article 17 excludes membership for those who are members of a political formation.
In October 2016, Tshisekedi became vice secretary general of the UDPS. On 31 March 2018, he was elected to lead the UDPS, after his father’s death on 1 February 2017. The very same day, he was chosen by his party to be the UDPS presidential candidate in the general election that took place on 30 December 2018.
On 10 January 2019, it was announced Tshisekedi had been elected President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the elections held on 30 December 2018.
He defeated another opposition leader, Martin Fayulu, and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who was supported by term-limited outgoing president Joseph Kabila who has been president for eighteen years.
Fayulu, the runner-up, alleged rigging and challenged the election results. On 19 January, the challenge was dismissed by the Constitutional Court, officially making Tshisekedi president-elect.
1,000 Burundian Soldiers to Leave AMISOM
At least 1,000 Burundian soldiers are expected to return home from Somalia as part of a drawdown of AMISOM troops by February 28.
This was decided during a meeting of the Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) held on November 30, 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Officials said Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF) has since agreed to effect the drawdown.
Africa Union has been in talks with United Nations and other funders over the drawdown which regional leaders say will threaten the gains realized by Amisom in Somalia.
Terrorist attacks remain prevalent in Somalia and the situation is expected to be worse when all Amisom troops leave the country.
UN recently warned Amisom that “from March 1, 2019, payment of allowances and support will be adjusted accordingly. In this regard, AMISOM is requested to consider readjusting (reconfigure) the contingent deployment and coordinate with UNSOS to facilitate the drawdown process accordingly.”