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Congo leader's Katanga rift adds to political tensions

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Significance

The protests are against an amendment to the electoral law, which was passed on January 17 and requires that a new census be carried out before presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2016 can take place. The law formally opens up the possibility that there will be delay to elections which should mark the end of President Joseph Kabila's constitutional tenure. Earlier this month, the issue sparked a rupture between Kabila and Moise Katumbi, the popular governor of the mineral-rich Katanga province. After making implicit references against the president staying on, Katumbi was expelled from his post as provincial head of Kabila's party.

Impacts

  • Regional reaction to obeying term limits will be key; Angola's head of state visit to Congo went ahead yesterday, despite planned protests.
  • However, in the face of domestic challenges, Kabila can no longer expect an Angolan security guarantee.
  • Angola's cancellation of the January summit on eastern DRC is testament to its reticent approach on military intervention in Congo.
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