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Congo Siasa

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

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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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Congo SiasaFeatured

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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Congo SiasaFeatured

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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Congo SiasaFeatured

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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Congo SiasaFeatured

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

Something happened yesterday in Kinshasa, a violent screeching of gears in the political crisis as the government decided to resort to brute force to quash popular protest. If before September 19 all eyes were focused on the political process––who was participating in the political dialogue, whether it was still possible

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The facilitator of the dialogue, Edem Kodjo, with Vital Kamerhe and Thambwe Mwamba
Congo SiasaFeatured

The dialogue politique, which began on September 1st in Kinshasa, succeeded in dividing the Congolese political class even before the talks began. Currently the 280 delegates to the dialogue include: the ruling coalition; part of the opposition; part of civil society; and “eminent personalities.” But that doesn’t say much––the dialogue has sowed chaos

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Congo SiasaFeatured

Today, news broke that the government had asked Ida Sawyer, the senior Human Rights Watch researcher for the DR Congo, to leave the country. This move was both unwarranted and the sign of an increasingly jusqu’au boutiste mood within the upper echelons of power, an indication that the government is ready to

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