Blog entries from: Congo Siasa

A blog on Congo, its politics and tribulations.

1 to 10 of 11

November 17 2014

From Congo Siasa Mon Nov 17 2014, 13:01:00

The Grand Congolese Bargain, as seen by many foreign diplomats, was supposed to be: Get rid of the M23 and the FDLR, and you will have removed the linchpins of the Congolese conflict. This approach makes sense, insofar as most other armed groups--as deadly and brutal as they may be--are extremely limited in their reach without regional backing. While it does not deal with the violent dysfunctions of the Congolese state, it could have been a useful first step. 

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November 9 2014

From Congo Siasa Sun Nov 9 2014, 15:01:00

It's been just over a year since the M23, at the time the most significant Congolese armed group, was defeated. It had been a symbolically momentous moment--it was a rare victory for the Congolese army, and the first time since 1998 that the Rwandan government did not have a significant military ally on Congolese soil.

The anniversary was marked by remonstrations on both side--the M23 President Bertrand Bisimwa accused Kinshasa of not upholding its side of the deal, while Kinshasa complained that the M23 had not participated in follow-up meetings in Kinshasa and Nairobi in recent weeks, and said "one has the impression that they aren't ready" to come back.

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November 6 2014

From Congo Siasa Thu Nov 6 2014, 21:55:00

Ok, I can tell how that title can be a bit misleading. Perhaps I should have called it: Congolese singer flip-flops on backing the president. And, despite appearances, this is actually a serious story.

This is what happened. Koffi Olomide, perhaps the most famous Congolese singer and winner of 10 pan-African Kora Awards, is not known for his firm principles. Like most Congolese artists, he sells shout-outs (mabanga in Lingala) in his songs to the highest bidder--including Congo-Brazzaville President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and the former Ivorian rebel leader Guillaume Soro. In 2010, he even traveled to Kigali to support the election campaign of President Paul Kagame, a daring venture, given the Rwandan president's notoriety in the Congo. And then, to further infuriate inhabitants of the ...

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November 5 2014

From Congo Siasa Wed Nov 5 2014, 12:32:00

The following is an edited transcript and a translation of an interview with Dr Gilles Yabi. Political analyst and economist, Dr Yabi spent seven years as senior political analyst and then project director for the West Africa Project of the International Crisis Group. Holding a Ph.D in economics from the university of Clermont-Ferrand in France, Gilles also worked as a journalist for the weekly magazine Jeune Afrique. After leaving Crisis Group in November 2013, Gilles is now independent consultant in the fields of conflict analysis, security and political governance in West Africa. He also publishes articles and editorials on his blog: Le Blog de Gilles Yabi (

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November 3 2014

From Congo Siasa Mon Nov 3 2014, 14:19:00

The momentous events in Burkina Faso last week have reverberated across Africa, and nowhere more so than in the streets and halls of power in the Congo. The #Lwili (the burkinabé hashtag used for the protests) playbook is attractive to many in the opposition and civil society: A president tries to overstay his welcome and his term-limits by changing the constitution; the people rise up and force him out of power; the army joins them to send the president into exile. This sequence of events was played out in Burkina Faso, but also in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011, and to a certain extent in Chile (1988) and the Philippines (1986).

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October 27 2014

From Congo Siasa Mon Oct 27 2014, 12:59:00

President Kabila has not confirmed it himself, but most Congolese today believe it to be true: The incumbent, in power since 2001--and democratically elected in 2006 and (controversially) in 2011-- would like to be able to stay on for another term. To do so, he would have to change the constitution, which, in Article 220, explicitly forbids tampering with presidential term limits. 

If he does want to change the term limits, he could either do through the legal avenue : having a joint session of the senate and national assembly approve the revision by a three-fifths majority--although this would be an obvious violation of Article 220. Or, as proponents of a revision have pointed out, by submitting a revision or an entirely new constitution to a popular referendum. Finally, he could ...

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October 23 2014

From Congo Siasa Thu Oct 23 2014, 12:44:00

As readers will know, the DR Congo is currently embroiled in endless debate over a constitutional revision that dare not speak its name. While neither President Kabila nor his party have officially proposed to change the term limits included in the current constitution, we can safely assume that they are at the very least considering it.

As a reminder: Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, and has been twice elected to 5-year terms (2006-2011, 2011-2016), is bound by the current constitution to stand down in 2016. Not only does Article 70 of the constitution say that the president has to step down after two terms, but Article 220 explicitly prohibits any revision of those term limits.

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October 21 2014

From Congo Siasa Tue Oct 21 2014, 12:18:00

Over the past month, over 80 civilians have been killed in Beni territory of North Kivu, civil society organizations report. Most point the finger at the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels, who have been based in this area--their main redoubt was in the Ruwenzori mountains along the border with Uganda--since 1995. The attacks have displaced over 30,000 people, according to a United Nations source, and many of the victims, including young children, were hacked to death with machetes and hatchets.

This is by far the worst spate of violence in recent months in the Congo--for comparison, during the nineteen months of the M23 rebellion, the UN reported 116 fatalities at the hands of those rebels. And yet, many questions remain about these recent killings.

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From Congo Siasa Tue Oct 21 2014, 10:20:00

We're back! 

After ten months of absence, Congo Siasa is opening its doors again today. Over the coming months, you will notice some changes to the layout and content of the blog. Besides your usual prattle about Congolese politics, these new features will include:

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February 7 2014

From Congo Siasa Fri Feb 7 2014, 09:44:00

Rift Valley Institute Field Courses 2014

The Rift Valley Institute's field courses on Sudan and South Sudan, the Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes take place from May to July 2014. Now in their eleventh year, the courses provide a basis for understanding current political and developmental challenges in the region. They are taught by teams of leading specialists--from the region and beyond-and offer a unique opportunity to spend time with an outstanding group of specialists, away from routine distractions. RVI courses are designed for policy-makers, diplomats, investors, development workers, researchers, activists and journalists--for new arrivals in the region and those already working there who wish to deepen their knowledge. A dawn-to-dusk programme of seminars, lectures, group ...

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