News & Conflicts

After 17 years, Joseph Kabila will step down as DR Congo’s President

Yes, you heard me right.

Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a former minister of interior was confirmed by DRC’s ruling party as the candidate for the long-delayed elections due to hold in December 2018 (two years behind schedule) – a decision that will see Kabila step down from his 17 years reign as president after the constitution barred him from a third term after having served two terms. Joseph Kabila came to power in 2001 after his father, Laurent, was assassinated. He contested and won elections in 2006 and 2011, after which his opponents accused him of clinging to power.

In next door Zambia, one of his major opponents remains locked out of the country. Moise Katumbi has failed by air and land to return to the country after about two years of self imposed exile. Others include Felix Tshisekedi – son of veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, Ex VP Jean Pierre Bemba and many others.

The political standoff since 2016 has seen riots and violence break across the country leaving dozens of people dead and many displaced. In this period, investors in DR Congo’s lucrative cobalt industry begun looking elsewhere, and the insensitive government has also blocked the internet and clamped down on social media to quell dissent. Western powers and Congo’s neighbors fear even worse violence across the country if Kabila digs in and runs, with memories still fresh of civil wars around the turn of the century that killed millions, mostly from hunger and disease.

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