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Congo Siasa

Over two months since fighting first erupted in Dongo (Equateur), the situation there remains a mystery. What caused the fighting initially to break out on 29 and 30 October last year? If it was really just a local conflict over fishing and land rights, why did Kabila send a battalion

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Congo Siasa

The 2010 budget is still being discussed in the Congo. One of the sticking points has been over the salaries that the parliamentarians wanted to vote for themselves. In 2007, MPs got salaries of around $4,000 a month. In addition, the President of the National Assembly Vital Kamerhe managed to

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Congo Siasa

What does 2010 have in store for the Congo? A few things to think about. In the first installment, let’s look at elections: Whom to believe? Abbe Malu Malu, the head of the electoral commission, who said in November that local elections will be held as scheduled in 2010? Or

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Congo Siasa

This week there was another case of mob justice in Bukavu. On December 20th, a gang of thieves robbed and killed the student Justin BAHATI as he was walking home in the Kadutu neighborhood. The culprits are were one of the more notorious gangs in town, called “The Finders.” Apparently,

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Congo Siasa

The CNDP are currently negotiating their participation in the national government, according to Radio Okapi, which could mark a step towards cementing the political deal the CNDP had signed in March 2009 – they recently wrote a letter to the Kinshasa government complaining that none of the promises contained in

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Congo Siasa

In my continuing series on “What’s for Christmas” blog, today I feature…drones! Yes, folks, that’s right. The Kinshasa government has cut the Gordian knot in the Kivus, slicing through the complexities of natural resources & conflict and has decided: drones are the way to go. A bit of explanation is

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Congo Siasa

Kabila has been on a PR-blitz recently, visiting much of the country, including restive Equateur & the Kasais – both areas favorable to the opposition – and, this week South and North Kivu. In Bukavu this week, he chaired a meeting of the council of ministers and gave a speech

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Congo Siasa

Stop the press, the CNDP (Laurent Nkunda’s former armed group) has a new president! Ok, so it’s not really that exciting. First of all, no one has heard of the guy. His name his Philippe Gafishi, a Tutsi from the Mugogwe clan (same as Bosco Ntaganda), born in Nyamitaba and

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Congo Siasa

Some gossip from within the UN system: 1. Discussions have begun around MONUC’s mandate renewal, led by the French (they are always given the lead on Congo matters in the Security Council). There will be a 5-6 month mandate renewal, as requested by Kabila, and preparations for a drawdown based

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Congo Siasa

I received a lot of comments on my last blog posting – thanks for this. Interestingly, some of my human rights friends (Congolese and foreign) were glad that I put this up. “Violence has engulfed our entire society,” one wrote from Bukavu, “we need to focus on the whole thing

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