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Congo Siasa

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

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Congo SiasaFeatured

Today, opposition rallies took place across the Congo. This was the latest in a series of opposition demonstrations intended to ratchet up pressure on Joseph Kabila’s government. The stakes were high: Kabila, who is supposed to step down in December, is appearing increasingly reluctant to hand over power any time

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Des soldats Rebel de FDLR à l’Est de la RDC le 06/02/2009. Radio Okapi.net
Congo Siasa

Today, the Congolese government transferred General Leopold Mujyambere, the chief of staff of the FDLR, to Kinshasa. He had been arrested several days ago in Goma by the Congolese intelligence service after his return from southern Africa. What does this arrest mean? First, the government is right to make a

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Congo SiasaFeatured

Yesterday, the International Contact Group on the DR Congo met in Stockholm. It’s a regular meeting of the body, which includes most major donors involved in the Congo––US, UK, Belgium, Germany, France, EU, Sweden, South Africa, and the Netherlands––as well as the United Nations. There is rarely any press coverage of

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Congo SiasaFeatured

Congolese Prime Minister Matata Ponyo is famously bullish about the economy: ““If we do 7.7 percent this year, what will prevent us doing 9 percent next year?” The answer, it turns out, is the world economic slump. And it comes at the worst possible time for the ruling government, which

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Congo SiasaFeatured

Yesterday there was a “debate” (i.e. mostly an opportunity to read speeches) at the UN Security Council on the prevention of conflicts in the Great Lakes region. On the critical issues of elections in the DRC, take a look at the differences in statements between the major western powers: The

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The Semuliki valley, the traditional heartland of the ADF rebellion (Photo: Dearbhla Glynn)
Congo Siasa

Today, the Congo Research Group is publishing the preliminary results of its investigations into the massacres around the town of Beni in northeastern Congo . The report is the result of months of fieldwork by five experienced researchers. We interviewed 110 sources, including 36 eyewitnesses and numerous self-confessed participants in

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UN soldiers patrolling in Pinga, North Kivu with the FARDC (United Nations)
Congo Siasa

A week ago, UN peacekeepers  struck a deal with the Congolese government to restart joint operations against the Rwandan FDLR rebels. It seemed to be a victory for the UN, whose efficiency in the East has been hampered by poor relations with its Congolese counterparts. Military collaboration had ceased since January 2015,

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Opposition rally in Bukavu on January 19, 2016
Congo Siasa

Before the holidays, it seemed that President Joseph Kabila had his back against a wall. Having taken too long to decide on a a succession strategy––do I stay and change the constitution? do I leave? who could guarantee my interests?––many of his allies defected, including the most presidentiable of them.

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Pope Francis
Congo Siasa

So much uncertainty hangs over Congolese political life at the moment, its protagonists can be forgiven for looking for signs from above. On Christmas, some believed they found one: In Pope Francis’ urbi et orbi message from St Peter’s Basilica, he said: We also pray for peace and concord among the peoples of

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Congo Siasa

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has a Congolese dilemma. After having been marginalized politically for years in the Congo, the UN now has the opportunity to play a critical role in navigating the upcoming battle over President Joseph Kabila’s succession. For months now, President Kabila has been preparing a national dialogue to

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