According to sources, President-elect Donald Trump is allegedly considering Dr J. Peter Pham, the current Vice-President for Research and Regional Initiatives and Director, Africa Center at the Washington DC based think-tank, Atlantic Council for the position Under-Secretary of State for African Affairs.
Dr J Peter Pham, a US citizen, born in Paris, France from parents of Vietnamese origins, is an expert on Africa. He has successfully participated in peace processes in Liberia, Sierra Leone and other countries in Africa. After graduating from the University of Chicago, he became a Catholic Priest, preaching in the Parish of Peoria, Illinois. It is during his time as a priest that he
participated in the peace deals brokered by the Vatican. Afterward, he left the priesthood and joined Atlantic Council. At Atlantic Council he focuses East Africa, Horn of Africa, Kenya, Maghreb, Morocco, Sahel, Somalia, West Africa with a special emphasis on African Security, Piracy, US Foreign Policy, Violent Extremism, Weapons Trafficking. He speaks multiple languages, including English, French, and Italian
Dr J. Peter Pham has been a vocal critic of dictators in Africa. Lately, he has been critical of Democratic Republic of the Congo's Joseph Kabila. The general position of Atlantic Council is that:
"Despite its wealth of natural resources, both in terms of extractives and in potential for renewable energy, to say nothing of the extraordinary human capital in its people, the Democratic Republic of the Congo will struggle economically in the coming year. Notwithstanding a rickety last-minute political deal pushed by the country’s influential Roman Catholic bishops that is supposed to lead to presidential elections before the end of 2017, President Joseph Kabila’s decision to violate the constitution and hold on to power despite the December 19, 2016, expiration of his final term casts a long shadow over the fourth most-populous country on the African continent and the largest country by area in Sub-Saharan Africa."
Before the December 31st, 2016 CENCO brokered deal, J. Peter Pham said that "This is a crisis that we knew was coming for a long, long time. I first wrote publicly about this looming crisis in 2014. The constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is very clear. The president has, at most, two consecutive terms. Full stop."
He then added that: "The transitional government represents no one but a lame-duck president whose term has expired and who is banned from running again and one of the minor opposition leaders, both of whom each have at beat single-digit support."
Asked about what the United States Government should do if Joseph Kabila hangs onto power, he said: "The United States should also go after the assets—Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times has laid out considerable evidence of corruption in an extraordinary article which appeared over the weekend—of key members of the regime, including the president and his twin sister Jaynet, as well as to slap travel bans on them. It is time to send a very clear and unambiguous signal because it is in the interest of the world not to get dragged into another Congo conflict and have to deal with the loss of lives and the expense of peacekeeping—to say nothing of the humanitarian tragedy that such an outbreak in violence would mean for the long-suffering Congolese people.
Joseph Kabila has pushed us to this precipice. Let’s be very clear, he either does the right thing and surrenders power now or he will be removed in some other way. The choice is his. Either way, there is no future for him in the Congolese presidency."