Democratic Republic of Congo finally has a new national assembly following the 30th December 2018 elections. New elected officials have since entered a provisional office in Kinshasa. The provisional office was installed Monday, January 27, 2019. The question is: will this new Parliament be different from the old one? I do not believe so; yet it will be judged on how it will act.

In the DRC, since the Mobutu regime, to that of the two Kabilas, the national assembly has remained a sounding board of power in place, or a folk orchestra of the President of the Republic. Few Congolese could still want to follow the plenary broadcast live on national radio and television.

Whenever the head of state cough or sneezes, our members of parliament applaud, as if they were paid to do just that. Today we want things to change; parliament must be the temple of democracy and uncompromising control of government actions.

During the election campaign, the candidates’ speech was: “Vote for me, I will defend you in Parliament. Bullshit! In reality, they wanted to say, “Vote for me, you will have nothing! because once elected, our MPs no longer care about their constituents. They are happy to receive their emoluments at the end of each month (about $ 13,000), and forget their campaign promises.

The MPs take refuge in the solidarity of groups and parliamentary majority. Many spend their parliamentary holidays abroad in Europe and not in their constituencies. They only come back to their bases during the elections to seek a new mandate. How can members of parliament be able to exercise parliamentary control over ministers with whom they share a drink night and day?

We no longer want a Parliament whose only way of legislating is to pass laws multiplying taxes against a population without means and no purchasing power. We want a parliament that endorses the wishes of the people and urges the leaders to significantly improve the living conditions of citizens.

Dear newly elected MPs, do not forget that the nation is watching you. Do not sit just to get fat and fill your pockets and bank accounts. Congolese people need a national assembly capable of bringing down a president or a government that has betrayed its constitutional commitments.

The new parliament must really play a counter-power role in order to limit the excesses of the regime. The country no longer needs these opposition MPs who, once they reach the hemicycle, change sides and join the ruling majority.

We want a parliament that is prepared to break with the old practices.