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Congo Siasa

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

zaida-catalan-michael-sharp
Congo SiasaFeatured

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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zaidamichael
Congo SiasaFeatured

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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Kintrouble6
Congo SiasaFeatured

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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tshibala-bruno-sortie-consultation-palais-nation_640_350_1
Congo SiasaFeatured

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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1280px-2011DRC-Elections12_(6466868413)
Congo SiasaFeatured

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
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
Congo SiasaFeatured

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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monusco_0
Congo SiasaFeatured

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
Congo SiasaFeatured

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
Congo SiasaFeaturedUncategorized

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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