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Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): The Comités du Pouvoir Populaire (Popular/People's Power Committees, CPP) in Canada, including their mission and activities; membership requirements in Canada and in the DRC; activities and treatment of members by DRC authorities

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 18 August 2009
Citation / Document Symbol COD103228.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): The Comités du Pouvoir Populaire (Popular/People's Power Committees, CPP) in Canada, including their mission and activities; membership requirements in Canada and in the DRC; activities and treatment of members by DRC authorities, 18 August 2009, COD103228.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b20f03ac.html [accessed 13 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Background

The Comités du Pouvoir Populaire (Popular/People's Power Committees, CCP) were created in 1999 by then president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Laurent-Désiré Kabila (RFI 14 Mar. 2003; Agence Belga 28 Dec. 2002; US 23 Feb. 2000, Sec. 2d). The CPP replaced the Alliance des Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Congo (Alliance of Democratic Forces of the Congo, AFDL) (AI 1 Nov. 2001, 33), a coalition of groups which had ousted former president Mobutu Sese Seko and put President Kabila in power (US 23 Feb. 2000).

The CPP were officially created with the objective of devolving power to the people (Le Potentiel 24 Apr. 2007; Agence Belga 30 Jan. 2003). In speechs given by Kabila posted on the website of the Coordination Lumumbistes-Mulelistes-Kabilistes (LMK), a grouping of nationalist and revolutionnary Congolese (n.d.), Kabila explained that the CPP were to act as alternatives to political parties (Coordination LMK 21 Jan. 1999). They were to provide the people's own perspective on their needs and administrate government projects in committees formed at the grassroots level in a form of direct democracy (Coordination LMK 21 Jan. 1999; ibid. 21 Apr. 1999).

According to the United States (US) Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999, Kabila decreed in July 1999 that all political activity had to be approved by the CPP (US 23 Feb. 2000, Sec. 2.b). Country Reports states that from 1999 to 2001 the CPP monitored the Congolese population and served as a security force on behalf of the Kabila regime (US 4 Mar. 2002, Sec. 2.a; ibid. 23 Feb. 2001, Sec. 2.a). Opposition parties were "effectively banned" until May 2001, when Kabila's son and successor, President Joseph Kabila permitted them (AI 1 Nov. 2001, 33; US. 4 Mar. 2002).

Country Reports for 2000 indicates that Kabila's presidential decree instituting the CPP and directing all political activity through them was widely criticized (US 23 Feb. 200,1 Sec. 2.b). In March 2000, delegates at a National Consultation organized by church groups called on the government to ban the CPP as part of a list of recommendations to improve civil rights (ibid. 2001, Sec. 3).

The CPP reportedly "declined in significance" after the assassination of Kabila (US 31 Mar. 2003; Le Potentiel 23 Nov 2006; Coordination LMK 20 Mar. – 22 Apr. 2003). They were officially dissolved in March 2003 after a meeting held to unite "Kabilistes" (Laurent-Désiré Kabila's ideological supporters) and nationalists in a common political direction (Agence Belga 10 Mar. 2003; DigitialCongo.net 12 Mar. 2003; Coordination LMK 20 Mar. – 22 Apr. 2003; RFI 14 Mar. 2003).

The CPP, alongside other groups, were absorbed into Joseph Kabila's Parti du Peuple pour la Reconstruction et le Développement (People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy, PPRD) (Coordination LMK 20 Mar. – 22 Apr. 2003; RFI 14 Mar. 2003; DigitialCongo.net 12 Mar. 2003). However, the dissolution of the CPP by President Joseph Kabila reportedly caused a rift between some Laurent-Désiré Kabila loyalists and Joseph Kabila's supporters (Le Potentiel 23 Nov. 2006; Coordination LMK 20 Mar. – 22 Apr. 2003).

No further information on this movement or other people or organizations affiliated with the CPP in the DRC could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

The CPP in Canada

Several postings by the president and vice-president of CPP-Canada on "Congonline", a news and discussion website dedicated to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, give an indication of some of the activities of the Canadian section of the CPP. An 1998 posting identifies the CPP-Canada president and vice-president as having previously served as, respectively, the coordinator and the assistant secretary-general of the Canadian section of the Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo (AFDL-Canada 20 Aug. 1998). Other postings on CPP-Canada from August 1999 to November 2000 show that CPP-Canada organized a conference and issued calls to the Congolese community within and outside Canada to defend the interests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to support the policies of President Laurent-Désiré Kabila (CPP-Canada 21Nov. 2000; ibid. 17 Aug. 2000; ibid 9 Aug. 1999).

In a 21 November 2000 posting, the CPP-Canada president argued that the CPP-Canada section was part of an effort to organize the Congolese people in a new type of democratic model and that the CPP was a continuation of the AFDL (CPP-Canada 21 Nov. 2000). According to this posting, the mandate of the CPP-Canada section included:

[translation]

  • Influencing the Congolese in Canada to mobilize on behalf of our homeland the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

  • Raising awareness of the Congolese people in Canada so they take control of their own destiny;

  • Consolidating national unity and the integrity of the national territory;

  • Putting in place and defending the Congolese people's power in our host country of Canada;

  • Encouraging the Congolese Diaspora of Canada to contribute to the social well-being of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

  • Offering to women, youth and the dispossessed segments of the Congolese population the best opportunities to effectively and efficiently participate in the political life of the Congolese nation;

  • Ensuring that wherever Congolese people are found, they will always be actors in their history and masters of their destiny, not just spectators waiting on the sidelines (ibid.).

No further information on CPP-Canada, its membership, its recruitment activities and the treatment of its members by authorities were found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Agence Belga. 10 March 2003. "RDC – Autodissolution des Comités du pouvoir populaire." (Factiva)
_____. 30 January 2003. "Les Comités de Pouvoir Populaire rejettent l'accord de Pretoria." (Factiva)
_____. 28 December 2002. "Pretoria – Les Comités du Pouvoir Populaire (CPP) dénoncent la Belgique." (Factiva)

Alliances des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo, Section du Canada (ADFL- Canada), Comité Executif Fédéral. 20 August 1998. Abraham Ngongo, Gérard Buakasa and Albert Lomomba. "Demande de condamnation sans réserve par les Nations

-Unies de l'agression du Congo par le Rwanda et l'Ouganda." (Congonline) [Accessed 7 Aug. 2009]

Amnesty International (AI). 1 November 2001. Democratic Republic of Congo: Memorandum to the Inter-Congolese Dialogue: Amnesty International's Recommendations for a Human Rights Agenda. (AFR 62/030/2001) [Accessed 24 July 2009]

Coordination Lumumbistes-Mulelistes-Kabilistes (LMK). 20 March – 22 April 2003. "Réaliser l'unité des kabilistes et nationalistes, combattre les agresseurs et les fauteurs de guerre civile." [Accessed 6 Aug. 2009]
_____. 21 April 1999. "Démocratiser la société congolaise à partir de la base: Discours du Président Kabila au Congrès des Comités du Pouvoir Populaire, le 21 avril 1999." [Accessed 8 Aug. 2009]
_____. 21 January 1999. "Créez partout des Comités du Pouvoir Populaire: Discours du Président Kabila au Palais du Peuple, le 21 janvier 1999." [Accessed 8 Aug. 2009]
_____. n.d. "Qui sommes-nous?" [Accessed 17 Aug. 2009]

CPP-Canada. 21 November 2000. Abraham Ngongo. "Les CPP : une démocratie nouvelle." (Congoline) [Accessed 7 Aug. 2009]
_____. 17 August 2000. Abraham Ngongo "Appel à la résistance contre l'oppression occidentale en R.D.C." (Congoline) [Accessed 7 Aug. 2009]
_____. 9 August 1999. Albert Djolosoko Lomomba. "Conférence sur la reconstruction du Congo par Dominique Sakombi Inongo." (Congoline) [Accessed 10 Aug. 2009]

Digitialcongo.net. 12 March 2003. "Kabila lance sa famille politique." [Accessed 27 July 2009]

Le Potentiel [Kinshasa]. 24 April 2007. "Autour d'une date – le 24 avril 1990, la transition, une longue errance." (Factiva)
_____. 23 November 2006. "Lutte contre la corruption – un grand défi à Kabila." (Factiva)

Radio France internationale (RFI). 14 March 2003. "La fin du dialogue intercongolais." [Accessed 6 Aug. 2009]

United States (US). 31 March 2003. Department of State. "Congo, Democratic Republic of the." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002. [Accessed 27 July 2009]
_____. 4 March 2002. Department of State. "Congo, Democratic Republic of the." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001. [Accessed 27 July 2009]
_____. 23 February 2001. Department of State. "Congo, Democratic Republic of the." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000. [Accessed 6 Aug. 2009]
_____. 23 February 2000. Department of State. "Congo, Democratic Republic of the." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999. [Accessed 27 July 2009]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: AllAfrica, Congo Panorama, Europa World, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Mouvement Congolais pour la Democratie Directe, International Crisis Group, Pambazuka News; Réseau documentaire international sur la région des grands lacs africains

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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