19 December 2016

Congo-Kinshasa: Internet Shut, Phone Network Scrambled Hours Before Kabila Becomes Illegal President

Photo: Ph. John Bompengo
(file photo).

The Democratic Republic of Congo has not seen a peaceful transition of power since 1960; 2016 was supposed to be different.

But unfortunately, the situation in the DRC continues to deteriorate as talks between the ruling party and the opposition broke down over Pres. Kabila's exit from power. His final legal day in office is tomorrow, December 19, after which he will no longer be the lawful president of the country. How the population reacts and how he responds is to be seen.

Those on Twitter are using the hashtag #CongoCrisis to aggregate what they're seeing and hearing, and the eyes of the world are watching the country - the largest in sub-Saharan Africa.

An analysis of the World View on the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Mediators from the Roman Catholic Church have been making a last-ditch attempt to avert a showdown with the country's security forces. But the president, who won two elections and is barred from seeking a third term, has shown little inclination to step aside.

And the New York Times's Jeff Gettleman, who has done several stories on the situation, reported out a 2,000 word story on a "labyrinth" that is possibly ensnaring President Kabila:

Many people here are terrified that if Mr. Kabila clings to power at all costs, as some of his counterparts across Africa recently have, Congo could explode.

But the paradox is that Mr. Kabila may not especially want to stay in power. Instead, former confidants say, he refuses to give up for a simple reason: He is afraid -- for his family, for his safety and, not insignificant, for his wealth.

Recent troves of documents shared with The New York Times -- whose authenticity has been verified by current and former Congolese officials -- reveal a string of suspicious bank transfers totaling $95.7 million, dubious mining rights sales that have generated millions more and possible money-laundering schemes involving a bank executive widely described as Mr. Kabila's adopted brother.

But several people who know the president well said Mr. Kabila was increasingly isolated, moody and antisocial. They said he had been keeping irregular hours, becoming irritable with his staff members and staying up late to play Sony PlayStation 4 or race his fancy motorcycles up and down the dark boulevards of Kinshasa to blow off steam.

The Kabila government is shutting down social media in the country tonight. This to quell communication among citizens who may be planning to organize protests against Mr. Kabila and his government.

More on This

Five U.S. Lawmakers Ask Kabila to Leave Office On Dec. 19

With just 3 days remaining in Joseph Kabila's legal term as the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, United… Read more »

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