DRC: Tension Remains High After Tuesday’s Deadly Clashes

Opposition supporters are angry over the extension of the tenure of President Joseph Kabila.


According to Radio France Internationale, RFI, the situation remained tense yesterday, December 21, 2016, in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, and most of the country’s major cities. This came a day after deadly clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters. The office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights in the DRC put Tuesday’s death toll at a minimum of 20, though official sources said the figure was much less.

The demonstrators were angry at the extension of the second tenure of President Joseph Kabila after its official expiry. Though Kabila’s mandate officially ended on December 19, 2016 at midnight, he will remain in power until the next elections following an accord reached last October with a section of the opposition. Also, the Constitutional Court earlier ruled that the President should remain in office while discussions on a new political settlement continue.

The Roman Catholic Church recently began mediating between the government and the section of opposition that boycotted the last talks. In this light, the leadership of Episcopal Conference was at the Vatican earlier this week to brief Pope Francis on their efforts. While opposition leader, Etienne Tshisekedi, called for what he described as “peaceful resistance” to get Kabila to leave power, Government Spokesman, Lambert Mende, retorted that it was time to continue talks for a negotiated settlement. “It’s only by so doing that we can find the best ways of living together peacefully during this transition period before the election of the next President,” Mende noted.

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