Status Report on the Political Situation in the DRC as of January 20, 2017

The original, and most important, violation of the DRC constitution took place on November 19, 2016 when the scheduled presidential election did NOT take place. One month later on December 19, President Kabila ceased to be the elected President of the DRC. On this date, President Kabila became the Transitional President of the DRC. 

As Transitional president of the DRC, President Kabila no longer commands the majority of the Congolese people. He must, therefore, share power with the opposition until the new presidential election takes place.

Mediation by the CENCO has developed a viable formula for governance of the DRC between December 19, 2016 and the next presidential election. 

The opposition fears that the Kabila government’s failure (refusal) to prepare and carry out a scheduled election in November 2016 is an indication that President Kabila’s ultimate strategy is to remain in power indefinitely. Although President Kabila himself has not made a public statement that he has no intention of changing the constitution to eliminate the two-mandate limitation, some of his collaborators have made such statements in public. In particular, Ambassador Kikaya Kirubi has made several public appearances in the United States during which he has stated without hesitation that President Kabila has NO intention of presenting himself for the next presidential election, and that he will leave power as soon as the next president is elected.

How is power to be shared during the transition? The mediation of CENCO is designed to construct a power sharing formula. As of January 20, 2017, there is general agreement that the head of government, the Prime Minister, must be named by the opposition, represented by the strongest element, “The Rassemblement.” This is necessary to reassure the opposition that President Kabila will not utilize the transition in order to further delay his departure from power.

Unfortunately, there appear to be continued efforts by President Kabila and his “majority” to continue to delay the process so as to sustain a Kabila presidency. Talk, talk, talk, means delay, delay, delay. The CENCO has good reason to be frustrated and angry.

The international community should now insist to President Kabila that he do the following:

•    Immediately appoint Felix Tschisekedi as Prime Minister, who was designated by the Rassemblement. 
•    Tschisekedi should choose a council of ministers selected half by the Rassemblement and other opposition, and half by the “Majorité” and civil society.
•    The President should immediately call the Parliament into special session in order to ratify the new government of Prime Minister Tschisekedi.
•    The Parliament must immediately vote the funds necessary to prepare for the next Presidential election, and preparations must begin immediately. 
•    The African Union should be invited to appoint a neutral election monitor who will assure that preparations continue energetically. 
•    Pursuant to the constitution, President Kabila will make appointments, or major decisions, only upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
•    The new Prime Minister will assure that the new Ministers of Finance and Mines will control all financial transactions of Gécamines, and that all revenues will be deposited with the Central Bank. 
•    The new Prime Minister will also assure that the Presidency will have no direct access to financial revenues beyond funds that are allocated to the Presidency by the Parliament.
•    The Presidents of the Republic of Congo and the Republic of Angola should accept to be guarantors of this transitional scenario.

(Photo: MONUSCO)