Bowing to widespread protests and pressure, Joseph Kabila finally gives up dictatorship

CENCO Dialogue: Bishops Utembi and Ambongo

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In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Bishops' Conference, known as the CENCO, appears to have made possible the almost impossible: reaching an accord that was improbable a couple of days ago. On Thursday, Dec 22, 2016, the CENCO held all-day talks with representatives of the government and the opposition. According to sources in Kinshasa,  contacted by AfroAmerica Network early today, a memorandum of understanding has been agreed to.

"This Friday at 2:00 PM, we will land," had said the vice-president of the CENCO, Bishop Fridolin Ambongo, before adding that: "President Kabila has made enough concessions, the agreement will be signed this Friday."  Bishop Ambongo's assessment was shared by the delegates from both the opposition and the the presidential majority. 

The points agreed to in the Memorandum of understanding include the following:

  • Bowing to widespread protests and pressure from both inside DRC and outside, Joseph Kabila has agreed to formally declare that he will not seek reelection or to revise the Constitution.
  • Presidential elections will be held in 2017, instead of 2018.
  • the Electoral Commission would be reorganized, but the widely criticized president will remain in office.
  • A new transitional union government will be set up, with potentially a new Prime minister. The name of Vital Kamerhe has again surfaced, to replace the newly appointed Samy Badibanga. Sources close to Vital Kamerhe, contacted by AfroAmerica Network,  have refused to confirm the accounts.
  •  A Monitoring committee, to be called National Transition Council, will oversee the agreement. Most likely Etienne Tshisekedi, the veteran opposition leader could become its president. 

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