Wednesday 24 May 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election, slated for late this year to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, could be delayed because of persistent militia violence in central Congo, the election commission president said on Friday. The elections were originally supposed to have been held by November 2016 but were postponed when the government said it needed more time to register voters. Many analysts say further delays could rekindle violent anti-Kabila protests that resulted in dozens of deaths last year. Under a deal struck in December, a presidential election to replace Kabila, in power since 2001, must take place by the end of this year. Kabila refused to step down at the end of...
(Bloomberg 05/10/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo announced the appointment of a new government under Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala that left many key ministerial posts unchanged. The ministers of finance, mines, oil, justice, interior and foreign affairs all retained their posts in the new administration, according to a statement read on national television Tuesday in the capital, Kinshasa. Congolese President Joseph Kabila last month named Tshibala, who was expelled in March from the largest opposition party, to head a new power-sharing government. Tshibala’s appointment followed a December deal intended to allow ruling and opposition parties to participate in government until delayed elections can be held. The agreement has largely disintegrated after opposition leaders clashed with Kabila over the selection of a new...
(The Associated Press 05/10/17)
Congo's president has named a new government that doesn't include any main opposition figures among more than 50 officials. President Joseph Kabila announced the members of Cabinet on Tuesday, about a month after a new prime minister was put in place. The new Cabinet will serve under Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala, a key player in the opposition coalition known as the Rassemblement that signed a political agreement reached in December. However, Congo's top opposition group disagreed with Tshibala being chosen...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
DR Congo's influential Catholic bishops have urged authorities to allow prominent opposition politician Moise Katumbi to return from exile, calling his criminal conviction a "farce". In a confidential report seen by AFP on Wednesday, the Congolese Episcopal Conference (CENCO) demanded that the government reverse its orders for Katumbi -- who has set his eyes on the presidency -- to be immediately arrested if he returns from abroad. Katumbi, a powerful businessman and ex-governor of the mineral-rich Katanga province, should be allowed to "return as a free man and exercise his civil and political rights," the Church said in the report, which was sent to President Joseph Kabila on March 29.
(Bloomberg 05/04/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo hired an Israeli security firm to lobby the U.S. government after criticism of President Joseph Kabila’s failure to hold elections and hand over power. Congo agreed to pay MER Security and Communication Systems Ltd. $5.58 million between Dec. 8, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2017 for policy advice and support in lobbying senior government officials and members of Congress, according to documents published on the U.S. Department of Justice’s www.fara.gov website April 28. MER, based in...
(AFP (eng) 05/02/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo said Monday it had indefinitely postponed voter registration in two provinces of its troubled central Kasai region after the brutal killing of an electoral official. On April 3, Philippe Iyidimbe, of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), "was decapitated by militias of chief Kamwina Nsapu in Ndekesha," in central DRC, the CENI said in a statement. He had travelled to the Kasai capital, Tshikapa, to train technical staff, it added. Following Iyidimbe's killing and the "destruction" of electoral materials and offices, "voter registration in Kasai-central and in Kasai, which should have started on April 30, has been delayed [indefinitely] due to insecurity" sparked by Nsapu's rebellion
(AFP (eng) 04/25/17)
UN officials launched a bid Tuesday to raise $65.4 million (59.75 million euros) in emergency funds for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by violence in Democratic Republic of Congo's Kasai region. Fighting between government troops and tribal militias has forced more than a million people from their homes over the past eight months. The UN's humanitarian affairs coordinator Mamadou Diallo said the funds would help "respond to the urgent and multiple needs of 731,000 people during the next six...
(AfricaNews 04/20/17)
The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) has airlifted 3,900 tonnes of election materials to 15 election centres around the country to be distributed to 107 satellite stations. The distribution, that started in October, 2016, was at the request of the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) in December 2015, the UN said Wednesday at a press conference. “As I speak, a helicopter is making a final rotation between Kinshasa and Kasongo Lunda in Kwango province...
(Xinhuanet 04/19/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, will convene Wedesday the first UN-AU Annual Conference. The two leaders will look into how to strengthen the partnership between the two organizations to face common challenges and opportunities in the continent, on issues of peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, said Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesman, at a daily briefing. "They will also sign the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/18/17)
Opposition leaders in Democratic Republic of Congo called on national authorities on Monday to investigate a report by Reuters last week that most of the money paid by Congolese citizens for new passports goes overseas. Documents reviewed by Reuters of a 2015 deal between Congo's government and a Belgian company called Semlex to produce biometric passports show that most of the $185 price for a new passport goes to Semlex and a small company called LRPS in the United Arab Emirates. According to a person with direct knowledge of the country's passport deal, the UAE-registered company
(AFP (eng) 04/08/17)
President Joseph Kabila on Friday named an opposition leader as prime minister for the Democratic Republic of Congo, honouring a pledge made as part of a stalled power-sharing deal agreed in December. Bruno Tshibala, a spokesman for the "Rassemblement" (Unity) coalition of parties opposed to Kabila's rule, will replace Samy Badibanga, who resigned as prime minister earlier Friday. But the party, formed by veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, has struggled to live up to its name. Tshisekedi was to have...
(AFP (eng) 04/05/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila on Wednesday pledged to appoint a new prime minister in the next two days, in line with a stalled December peace deal struck with the opposition. "The prime minister will absolutely have to be named within 48 hours," Kabila said in a much-awaited speech to MPs and senators on the state of a December 31 power-sharing agreement, yet to be implemented. The deal brokered by the influential Catholic church aimed to avoid a...
(AFP (eng) 03/31/17)
The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Friday to renew the mandate of the peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but cut its numbers. Members of the council paid tribute to two kidnapped UN researchers whose bodies were found this week, and voted to approve the MONUSCO mission for another year. The resolution reduces the authorized size of the military component of the mission from 19,815 to 16,215 troops, but the force is already under-strength and in practice fewer than 500 will come home. The United States, which will assume the presidency of the Security Council
(Bloomberg 03/29/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo, the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa and a major producer of natural resources including copper, cobalt, gold and tin, has never had a peaceful transfer of power. The country has had just three leaders since 1965, and if President Joseph Kabila has his way, it won’t have a fourth any time soon. Kabila’s second term -- his last, according to the constitution -- ended Dec. 19, but he’s still in office. Under a Dec. 31...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/28/17)
Isolated unrest broke out in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital on Tuesday after Catholic bishops withdrew from their role as mediators between the government and opposition in talks aimed at paving the way for delayed elections this year. Demonstrators, some burning tires at city crossroads, took to the streets in several areas in Kinshasa. In one instance, police fired tear gas to disperse a small group of youths. Many shops remained closed and some schools called parents to collect their...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/23/17)
N'DJAMENA French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen pledged on Wednesday to break with her country's decades-old relationship with Africa known as "Francafrique" and abolish the CFA franc currency policy that binds Paris and its former colonies. Francafrique describes an informal web of relationships Paris has maintained with its former African colonies and its support, sometimes in the form of military backing, for politicians who favor French business interests. Le Pen, one of the frontrunners in the presidential election, spoke...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/17)
Rising unrest in central Democratic Republic of Congo threatens to derail voter registration ahead of a high-stakes election, the Catholic Church and the electoral commission said Tuesday. Commission president Corneille Nangaa meanwhile hit out at recent attacks in the central region of Kasai, where four offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) have been set on fire. Kasai has seen a major spike in violence since September, leaving at least 400 dead in an uprising that erupted when government...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/17)
The European Union on Monday warned the Democratic Republic of Congo it faces more EU sanctions if political and military leaders block a deal with the opposition on the country's future. European Union foreign ministers discussed DR Congo amid growing frustration with President Joseph Kabila's refusal to stand aside at the end of his term late last year. "The EU reminds political leaders and members of the security forces that it is ready to adopt new restrictive measures," said the...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/03/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo's main opposition coalition said it had named the son of its late leader Etienne Tshisekedi to succeed him on Thursday, but some within the opposition rejected the choice. Felix Tshisekedi was chosen to lead the alliance of some of the country's largest opposition parties, which was thrown into crisis by the death of his father in Brussels last month, aged 84. Tshisekedi led the bloc during negotiations in December that resulted in a deal obliging President Joseph Kabila to step down after elections that must happen this year. His death sparked clashes between supporters and security forces in the capital
(AFP (eng) 02/21/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo's government, under pressure to act after months of violence in the south, on Sunday vowed to move away from a solely military solution. Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari told reporters: "The state is envisaging political, traditional and humanitarian solutions on the ground." But he added Kinshasa's response could be "military if arms are not laid down in a peaceful fashion to enable a lasting peace" in restless areas. Shadari did not give further details as...

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