Congo braces for unrest as president’s mandate expires

Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila arrives for a southern and central African leaders meeting to discuss political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Luanda, Angola

From Reuters:

“When protests erupt in Kinshasa, Congo’s sprawling riverside capital, politicians usually trot out the adage that they won’t last more than a couple days because people need to find food for their families.

That assumption faces its sternest test in years on Dec. 19, a date that marks the end of President Joseph Kabila’s second term in office and which was intended to herald the Democratic Republic of Congo’s first peaceful transition of power.

Kabila’s allies say the president now plans to stay on beyond that date, thanks to a deal with some rivals to delay an election due last month to April 2018, ostensibly because of logistical difficulties registering millions of voters.

However, the main opposition bloc has rejected this plan, accusing Kabila of postponing elections to cling to power. It wants demonstrations to force him out if talks mediated by the Catholic Church fail to produce a last-ditch compromise.

The last major flare-up over election delays killed at least 50 people, mainly protesters, in September.”

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