Blog entries from: Congo Siasa

A blog on Congo, its politics and tribulations.

1 to 10 of 10

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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January 29 2014

From Congo Siasa Wed Jan 29 2014, 08:26:00

As readers will have realized, Congo Siasa is on a hiatus for the coming months. I hope to be back soon.

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November 16 2013

From Congo Siasa Sat Nov 16 2013, 14:37:00

During the recent military escalation in the Kivus, the Congolese army fared far better than in the past, defeating a weakened M23. While the army leadership made an effort to streamline the chain of command and to ensure adequate supplies, army reform will have to be far more deep-rooted.

It is interesting to see how Congolese officers themselves see the challenge. In February of this year, the army high command invited around 120 senior officers to Kinshasa for a seminar on army reform--it was an excuse to remove them from the field, where they were clogging up the military hierarchy and, in the case of some, embezzling funds. But many of them are highly qualified officers, and when they were asked to produce an analysis of the army's defeat to the M23 in Goma in November 2012, they came ...

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November 13 2013

From Congo Siasa Wed Nov 13 2013, 07:37:00

On Monday, the peace talks in Kampala seemed to (again) be on the verge of success. The M23 and the Congolese government delegations were on their way to State House, and international envoys said both sides had agreed on the eleven articles of the agreement. At the last minute, however, the deal fell apart--over the simple issue of a title.

The Congolese refuse to sign an "agreement" (accord) and merely want to issue a "declaration" to conclude the talks. The M23 and the Ugandan mediation, meanwhile, are pushing for a formal, binding agreement.

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November 7 2013

From Congo Siasa Thu Nov 7 2013, 10:58:00

Following the national concertations in Kinshasa in early October, President Kabila gave a speech in which he announced, in the interest of national unity, the formation of a "government of national cohesion." Now, a month later, there are signs that Kabila will move soon to set up this government. When he does so, he will have a difficult choice: keep the current prime minister and maintain course on state reforms; or bring in someone who can help him rally the political elite around him.

Prime Minister Matata Ponyo, who has been in office since April 2012, has been able to make modest progress on improving governance, especially with regards to the economy and state finances. He is particularly popular with the donor community, who think that he has been able to name some competent ...

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October 30 2013

From Congo Siasa Wed Oct 30 2013, 22:19:00

The new round of fighting between Congolese government forces and the M23 rebels is reaching a dramatic climax. With the Congolese army having swept through all of the major towns that the M23 held--Kibumba, Rumangabo, Rutshuru, Kiwanja, and since this afternoon Bunagana--the M23 may be nearing its end. This would be historic--it would be the first time the Congolese government had defeated a major rebellion, and it would be the first time since 1996 that an armed group allied to Rwanda is not present in the eastern Congo. It is, however, too soon, to declare an end to the M23, as the rebels reportedly still occupy the hills along the Rwandan border between Runyoni and Tshanzu.

How did we get here?

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