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Democratic Republic of Congo

A decade of relative stability is at risk from rising polarisation over the delayed organisation of elections and President Joseph Kabila’s determination to stay in power beyond his constitutional time limit in December 2016. Crisis Group is alerting policymakers to the threat of popular violence, harsh crackdowns by the security forces and the continued threats posed by existing and emerging armed groups. Through advocacy based on field-researched analysis of national and local political dynamics and regional diplomacy, we seek to persuade domestic rivals to compromise in their disputes, to create a consensus among stakeholders on a transition to credible elections, and to persuade African and Western powers to coordinate their efforts to end the Congolese crisis.

CrisisWatch Democratic Republic of Congo

Unchanged Situation

Following 31 Dec agreement between presidential majority and opposition on transitional arrangements after end of President Kabila’s second term (constitutionally his last), parties continued talks but failed to agree by 28 Jan deadline set by mediator Catholic Church (CENCO) on how to implement deal; talks extended for at least one week. Contentious issues included appointment of future PM, roles of political groups in future govt and CENCO’s mediation role. In Haut-Katanga province in SE, violence and corruption reportedly affected voter registration during month. Armed group violence continued in parts of east, north, centre and south. In east, Hutu militia 15 Jan attacked Kyaghala, S Kivu province killing six people. UN mission (MONUSCO) 12 Jan warned new waves of fighters and refugees were crossing into NE DRC from S Sudan. Govt 15 Jan said army (FARDC) repelled incursion at Ishasha, N Kivu by ex-M23 militiamen encamped in Uganda since 2013 defeat; Ugandan govt 19 Jan reportedly arrested 100 ex-M23 fighters as they tried to cross into DRC. In north, FARDC 8 Jan pushed Lord’s Resistance Army rebels, originally from Uganda, from Nakolongbo, Bas-Uélé province. In centre, dozens reportedly killed including five civilians in week of clashes early Jan between security forces and Kamwina Nsapu militia in Tshimbulu, Kananga, Kalumba-Gare and Bunkonde villages in Kasai-Central province. MONUSCO 12 Jan deployed some 100 soldiers to Kananga to protect civilians, UN staff and airport. Incidents in Kananga 26-27 Jan hampered arrival of PM Badibanga at head of govt delegation. In south, clashes between Pygmy and Bantu militias in Tanganyika province continued; Pygmy militias 4-5 Jan carried out attacks in Mpyana, Kakelwa and Manono killing nineteen; further clashes 13 Jan killed 24.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

1 Feb 2017
There is a possibility of protests and emotional reaction, potentially violent [in DRC, following the death of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi]. No one has the popular legitimacy to take over. Financial Times

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo
26 Jan 2017
What’s going on [in DR Congo] shows an implosion is inevitable because the political system is not set up to solve [disputes over the position of Prime Minister]. Financial Times

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo
18 Dec 2016
You have a disconnect [in DR Congo] between a very impoverished people and a political-social class that basically negotiates and cuts deals amongst themselves. The Los Angeles Times

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo
15 Dec 2016
We’re heading for a big, slow-motion crisis. Why is [Joseph Kabila] refusing to go? For the sake of power? To protect the family business? Probably a bit of both. Bloomberg

Jean-Marie Guéhenno

President & CEO
3 Dec 2016
[CENCO in DR Congo] wanted to give the impression to the international community and to the region that they had exploited all avenues to enlarge the agreement they concluded in October. Voice of America

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo
29 Sep 2016
The arguments the government has given for not holding the election are rubbish. They’ve been doing everything in their power to ensure the election does not happen on time Financial Times

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo

Latest Updates

Op-Ed / Africa

What Does Opposition Leader Tshisekedi’s Death Mean for DR Congo’s Road to Elections?

The death of the veteran politician deprives the opposition of a well-known rallying figure. Without him, uncertainty and growing popular anger are likely to lead to more instability.

Originally published in African Arguments

Op-Ed / Africa

Hungry for Change: The Economics Underlying DR Congo’s Political Crisis

At the heart of disenchantment with President Kabila’s government lie deep economic woes.

Originally published in African Arguments

Podcast / Africa

Tensions in Katanga

In this podcast, Crisis Group's Director of Communications and Outreach Hugh Pope and Central Africa Project Director Richard Moncrieff discuss the links between long-term tensions in the Katanga region and the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) linked to the constitutional and electoral deadline at the end of 2016.

Our People

Hans Hoebeke

Senior Analyst, Congo