19 April 2017

Congo-Kinshasa: DRC - A Tale of Two Corpses

Photo: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton/
(file photo).

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Laurent Kabila's enemies are just as much trouble dead as alive. By SIMON ALLISON.

In the refrigerator of a Brussels mortuary lies the corpse of Etienne Tshisekedi. The veteran Congolese opposition leader was 84 when he died in a hospital in February; nearly three months later, his body is yet to return home.

Somehow - perhaps unsurprisingly, given his long involvement in Congolese politics - the fate of Tshisekedi's body has become embroiled in the fate of the country he so desperately wanted to lead.

"Tshisekedi's death was a shock and a surprise and has completely changed the political game in the DRC," said Stephanie Wolters, an analyst from the Institute for Security Studies.

Just weeks before his death, Tshisekedi had helped to negotiate a deal with the government. Brokered by the Catholic church, the deal was a good solution to the country's political impasse. It provided for new elections to be held before the end of 2017; for President Joseph Kabila to finally step down, and for a transitional government to rule until then. Kabila would remain president during the transition, with a politician from the opposition Rassemblement coalition selected to run...

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