DRC mediation talks end in stalemate

Tuesday April 04 2017

The political future of the Democratic Republic of Congo remains uncertain, after mediation efforts led by the Catholic Church ended without an agreement between the government and the opposition.

The National Episcopal Conference of Congo (Cenco), which has since last December been trying to get the two sides to co-manage the country during the transition, threw in the towel on March 27. Cenco blamed lack of political will from the presidential majority and the opposition grouped under the Rassemblement platform.

Protests broke out after the talks collapsed, amplifying fears of violence akin to the December 2016 clashes, in which at least 40 people were killed and 147 wounded.

After the bishops announced their withdrawal, youths barricaded roads and burned tyres on Tuesday and Wednesday in several parts of Kinshasa and in the southeastern city of Lubumbashi.

Charles Bambara, spokesperson of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, called for restraint and calm.

DRC is facing insecurity in Kasai Province. Confrontation between security forces and the Kamwina Nsapu militia have killed more than 100 people in the past two months.


Under an agreement reached last December, presidential and legislative elections should be held in December 2017, and President Joseph Kabila will not be a candidate. However, analysts fear the unfolding delays in implementing the accord point to the likelihood of President Kabila holding on to power beyond the transition period.

“All signs at present point to Kabila clinging to power as long as he can. The election delay is a ruse designed to allow Kabila to marshal all resources at his disposal to change the Constitution to allow him a third term and to rig the vote in his favour,” said Phil Clark, a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

The two parties still differ on the method of appointing a prime minister, who is to be selected from the coalition of opposition parties.