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Congo Siasa

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

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By ELISABETH CAESENS and JASON STEARNS There will be flurry of diplomatic activity on the Congo in coming days. Tomorrow (Thursday), the International Contact Group for the Great Lakes Region––a conclave of important donors and diplomats––will meet in The Hague to discuss, among other things, what to do about the

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“We reject any notion of a third dialogue with Kabila!” Was the verdict of Felix Tshisekedi, the leader of the main opposition coalition in the Congo. This is now emerging as the consensus among what is usually a fractious civil society and opposition: no more talking with Kabila. At the

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This week, a Board of Inquiry commissioned by the United Nations Secretary-General submitted its final report into the murder of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán, two members of the UN Group of Experts who were assassinated in the Kasai region on March 12, 2017. The report, which is confidential but

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In the wake of a tragedy, it can be tempting to point fingers, establish blame, and move on. That’s what appears to be happening with the murders of UN investigators Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan. Over the past week, the New York Times has published an article highlighting the “complicity”

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Last week, we published our second nationwide public opinion poll with BERCI. In contrast with the first one, where we polled over 7,500 people in person, this poll was our first attempt to conduct a telephone poll. (For the polling nerds out there, we were able to do this reliably because we

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If political elite opinion is anything to go by, free and fair elections may not happen any time soon in the Congo. Today, the government of prime minister Bruno Tshibala was announced, and it included several former opposition stalwarts who had been holding out for years against Kabila. Now, as the opposition

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The New Year’s Eve deal between the opposition and the government was made possible by a rare trifecta: concurrent pressure by Congolese in the streets, a relatively united political elite, and a hawkish donor community. Now, however, the New Year’s Eve deal is being unraveled by the nomination of Bruno

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