INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Drc Elections: Kashala Endorses Bemba for President

Published: Wed 25 Oct 2006 11:05 AM
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PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1644 2981105
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251105Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5029
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
UNCLAS KINSHASA 001644
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM CG ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: DRC ELECTIONS: KASHALA ENDORSES BEMBA FOR PRESIDENT
REF: A. KINSHASA 1540
B. KINSHASA 1642
1. (SBU) Former DRC presidential candidate Oscar Kashala
officially endorsed Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba for
president October 24. Kashala will begin campaigning
immediately on Bemba's behalf, beginning with a trip to
Western and Eastern Kasai provinces, followed by visits to
Lubumbashi, North Kivu, and Bas-Congo province. Kashala came
in fifth place in the July 30 presidential election with 3.5
percent of the vote. Most of his support came from Kinshasa,
Bas-Congo and the Kasais.
2. (SBU) Kashala told us he had been discussing an alliance
with Bemba in Kinshasa over the past two days. Kashala said
he endorsed Bemba because he felt their visions for the
country were "aligned." Kashala claimed both he and Bemba
share the same interests in ensuring good governance and
increasing humanitarian assistance. He said he insisted these
issues be emphasized during the remainder of the campaign if
he were to support Bemba.
3. (SBU) Kashala won most of his first-round votes in the
Kasai provinces, accounting for 18 percent of the total in
both. He told us he will encourage people to vote,
particularly those who did not do so because of pressure from
the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS). Calling
such pressure "intimidation," he said he will urge Kasaians
to keep elections peaceful. He asserted that his support for
Bemba will help the Vice President win both provinces, and
that he and Bemba are the emerging leadership to replace UDPS
President Etienne Tshisekedi.
4. (SBU) Comment: The amount of support Kashala can deliver
to Bemba is not large. Kashala's electoral base was largely
in the same urban areas where Bemba is already strong.
Kashala also has infrastructure in place in the Kasais, which
will limit his efforts with only three days of campaigning
left. End comment.
MEECE
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