2 January 2017

Congo-Kinshasa: Rivals Offer Peace a Chance

Photo: Radio Okapi/Ph. John Bompengo
Displaced people.

Kinshasa — THERE is a glimmer of hope for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo where warring parties have reached a compromise to resolve a deadly political impasse.

The deal is expected to pave way for President Joseph Kabila, who is clinging to power beyond his two terms, to vacate office after elections now set for later this year.

Stakeholders are hopeful the compromise facilitated by the National Episcopal Conference would stem a crisis emanating from a failure to hold elections in November, and the lapse of Kabila's term in December.

This sparked deadly protests. State security killed scores of anti-Kabila demonstrators while others have been jailed.

United Nations envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Said Djinnit, welcomed the compromise reached on New Year's Eve as a significant milestone in the promotion of reconciliation and democracy.

He said it would contribute to greater stability and sustainable development throughout the volatile Great Lakes region.

Former colonial master Belgium, which had earlier threatened to cut ties with DRC, said the compromise was an important and positive step towards a swift and inclusive transition.

Deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs Didier Reynders said this would enable the organisation of free elections, reopening of the democratic space and consensual management of the transition.

DRC, with a population of over 80 million, has never witnessed a democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960. - CAJ NEWS

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