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Congo Siasa

A blog on Congo, its politics and tribulations. Edited by Jason Stearns.

Maman Sambo Sidikou, the head of MONUSCO, and Pierre Lumbi, president of the council of elders of the Rassemblement. Radio Okapi
Congo SiasaFeatured

Is the New Years’ Eve deal dead? In the final hours of 2016, the Catholic bishops had brokered an agreement between the Congolese opposition and President Kabila’s negotiators, forging a unity government led by the opposition and an oversight committee (the Comité nationale pour de suivi de l’accord, CNSA) also led by

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Kinshasa, 10 April, 2017. Radio Okapi/Ph. John Bompengo
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Alexander Hamilton and James Madison famously argued that factions were one of the greatest dangers to American democracy. This week, we learned of the Congolese analogy––in contrast with the American variety (in the 18th century), Congolese factionalism sprang from the elites, as President Kabila continued to peel off former leaders of the

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Reading the preamble to United Nations mandates is always an exercise in lawyerly surrealism. That of MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping operation in the DR Congo, is no exception: “Reaffirming the basic principles of peacekeeping, including consent of the parties, impartiality, and non-use of force,” it starts off, continuing in the

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Jana Asenbrennerova/Courtesy of MCC
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Yesterday, the United Nations confirmed the deaths of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan close to Kananga in the province of Kasai-Central. The bodies of the four Congolese––an interpreter and three motorcycle drivers––who were with them are still missing. This blog is not usually meant for personal reflections, but it is impossible

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Screenshot from a video allegedly depicting a government attack on Kamuina Nsapu militia members in Mwanza Lomba, Kasai
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One could be forgiven for thinking the Congo is on the brink of another military escalation. Rumors of Rwandan and Ugandan intervention have been smoldering for weeks now, and recent outbreaks of violence in the Kivus, Kasais, and Tanganyika provinces have killed hundreds in recent months. The United Nations says

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During the run-up to the 2011 elections, Roger Meece visited Washington, DC. Meece, then the head of the UN peacekeeping mission to the Congo, was perhaps the US diplomat with the best understanding of the country. He had served as deputy chief of mission to the Congo between 1995-1998, as director

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Here is a summary of events today, based on reporting from across the country. You can find other excellent summaries by Christophe Rigaud and Sonia Rolley. Also see Ida Sawyer’s insightful blog on preparations for the 19th here. Contrary to the reporting in some news outlets, the 19th stopped being

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On November 17, President Joseph Kabila named a new prime minister: Samy Badibanga, a dissident member of the UDPS opposition party. According to the presidents’ supporters, he was carrying out the Accord politique of October 18, which was hailed by regional leaders and the African Union as a way out of the current

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The Kabila administration is not known for quick reactions––it can take them days or even weeks to react publicly to massacres in the eastern Congo, for example.This morning, however, just hours after Trump made his victory speech, President Kabila wrote to congratulate him on “his brilliant election.” What will the

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Congo SiasaFeatured

This week, big news from the financial world. Och-Ziff, a leading New York hedge fund that at its height managed $48 billion, has been fined $413 million for over $100 million in bribes it paid to government officials in Libya, Guinea, Chad, Niger, and the DR Congo. Yes, that seems a

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