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Congo Siasa

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

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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United_Nations_HQ
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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DSC_3962
Congo Siasa

There have been months of speculations in the Congo about how President Joseph Kabila will approach his own succession. According to the current constitution, he has to step down in December 2016. It is fairly clear, from various public statements (Emmanuel Shadari here, Alain-André Atundu here), as well as private comments, that members of

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Reports
Congo Siasa

A week ago, we published a map of armed groups in the Kivus, along with an essay on the recent trends on the conflict. In sum, we argued that armed groups are more numerous, less linked to regional dynamics, and less likely to be used as bargaining chips to obtain

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201510afr_drc_protestors_0
Congo Siasa

On Wednesday this week, opposition members and civil society activists crowded into the CEPAS conference room in downtown Kinshasa to denounce, yet again, any attempt by President Kabila to change the constitution or to try to delay national elections past 2016. The same day, the spokesperson for the UDPS opposition party

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felix-tshisekedi
Congo SiasaFeatured

On Monday this week, President Joseph Kabila met with the heads of state institutions––army, parliament, senior judges and prosecutors. The following day, Deputy Prime Minister Evariste Boshab announced that a political dialogue would be held shortly. Ruling party members filled in thedetails: the UDPS, a powerful opposition party led by

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Kabila cropped
Congo Siasa

The internet convulsed briefly over comments made by President Joseph Kabila’s coalition spokesperson and published by Reuters on Saturday. At a press conference called in Lubumbashi by the provincial commissioner for the new province of Lualaba––apparently an occasion to rally the troops behind the president––André Alain Atundu said: We need to

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Congo SiasaFeatured

But the real controversy is not that. The forcing through of the law shows the Congolese government’s determination to hold local elections, currently scheduled for 25 October 2015, before the presidential and national parliamentary elections. This will almost inevitably delay the electoral process, as the local elections are more complicated

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