Most Congolese are Christians. About half the population is Catholic. During the colonial era, the Catholic Church built a network of hospitals, clinics and schools. The church also operated companies, including agriculture, trading houses and workshops.
After the independence of the Congo-Kinshasa in 1960, the Catholic Church’s relationship with the state changed. Formerly an ally of the Belgian colonial power, the church became the foremost critic of the state. Mobutu, who ruled the country between 1965 and 1997, tried in vain to deprive the church of its power, but it retained its influence, especially within the school system. The Catholic Church is today one of the few forces with moral authority to challenge the country’s elite. The peace agreement between the government and the opposition that was announced at the end of 2016 has not been respected (see Current policy). Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya played a leading role in the church’s opposition to Kabila. He has also openly criticized the widespread violence, not least after the shootings during the protests held outside several churches at the end of 2017 (see Calendar).
The development of the Protestant churches was the opposite. In 1878, the first Protestant mission station was founded. The missionaries, from Scandinavia, among others, criticized the Belgian government (see Older history) and after independence several Protestant leaders supported the Mobutur regime.
The Protestant communities include the indigenous kimbanguist church. It was founded in 1921 by the charismatic preacher Simon Kimbangu, who was then a member of the English Baptist Church. He had received a call to preach and heal people and quickly gained a reputation for himself as a healing, messianic figure. The Kimbanguist Church made strict demands on its followers and in a short space of time managed to get rid of more traditional notions such as horsemanship and customs such as polygamy than the European missionaries had been able to for decades.
- Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Democratic Republic of the Congo, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.
One explanation for the rapid spread of the kimbanguist church was that it had a nationalistic appearance. The colonial power imprisoned Kimbangu and banned his church. But even from prison, Kimbangu retained a strong influence over the followers until his death in 1951 and his community carried on underground activities against the colonial power. At independence in 1960, the kimbanguist church was legalized and it later came to stand near the Mobutur regime. Since 1969, it has been a member of the World Council of Churches.
Alongside Christianity, a large part of the population has continued to practice traditional religions with elements of animism. A small group of Muslims also live in the country. Freedom of religion is respected.
Several dead in strikes against churches
Security forces kill six people and arrest more than 100 people as they try to stop protests against President Kabila in connection with the Sunday Mass. Many people are also injured. The Catholic Church has urged Congolese to gather outside the churches to demand peaceful resignation by Kabila, but the manifestations have been banned by the authorities. Among the arrested are twelve altar boys who led a protest march outside St. Michael’s Church in central Kinshasa. Before the protest, the authorities have shut down all Internet and SMS traffic. The number of deaths varies initially between seven and twelve (according to the opposition, eleven people were killed in Kinshasa and one in Kananga). The UN later expressed its dismay at the actions of the security forces.
Car leaders arrested for murder of UN experts
Tshidime Bulabula, a village leader from Kasai, is arrested for ordering the murders of UN experts Zaida Catalán, Michael Sharp and their Congolese interpreter (see March 2017). The driver and another suspect, Tresor Mputu, has been taken to Kananga in Lulua province. Human rights organizations have previously said that representatives of the regime may be involved in the killing. Similar noises were also expressed in a UN study.
The US faces sanctions on Kabila’s friend
The US faces sanctions on Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, who belongs to the closest circle of President Kabila. Many mining companies operating in the country have had to use Gertler as an intermediary when doing business with the Congolese state. Via the so-called paradise leak in November 2017, it was revealed, among other things, how Congo-Kinshasa lost hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue by selling assets at a lower price to Gertler’s companies.
Few participate in protest against Kabila
The opposition’s call for national protests against President Kabila’s rule will be a failure. Protest meetings are held in a number of cities but only a few dozen participants join. Nevertheless, the police seize at least 30 protesters. Opposition leader Félix Tshisekedi is prevented by police from leaving his home. The opposition blames the poor support for lack of coordination and states that the fight against Kabila should continue.
The ICC imposes damages on child soldiers
The ICC decides to award hundreds or thousands of child soldiers damages totaling $ 10 million. It is about boys and, from 2002 to 2003, was recruited by Thomas Lubanga into the militia of the Congolese Patriots Union (UPC), where they were used as bodyguards and sex slaves. 425 people, who were under 15 at the time, have been identified, and each will receive the equivalent of $ 80,000, a total of $ 3.4 million. But the victims are significantly more and $ 6.6 million will go to get more people to come forward. The work will be managed by the Independent Trust Fund for Victims . In 2012, Lubanga was sentenced to 14 years in prison for recruiting child soldiers.
Militants are sentenced to life imprisonment for rapes against children
13th of December
11 members of the militia Djeshi ya Yesu (Jesus army) in South Kivu are sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. They are convicted of raping at least 37 children near the village of Kavumu between 2013 and 2016. The rape victims were between eight months and twelve years. The judgments also apply to murder, membership in a rebel movement and illegal possession of weapons. Two men receive shorter prison sentences and five defendants are fully acquitted. The victims and their families are awarded compensation of between $ 5,000 and $ 15,000. Among those convicted include Frederic Batumike, a politician who sits in the provincial parliament and who is said to be leading the militia group. According to the government, the militia had hired a spiritual adviser who must have told the militiamen that by raping young children they would receive supernatural protection. All convicted people deny crime.
15 UN soldiers are killed in Nordkivu
15 Tanzanian UN soldiers are killed and about 50 injured when rebels attack their base in Nordkivu. The rebel movement ADF-Nalu is suspected to be behind the act, which UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls a war crime and the worst assault on the UN in recent years.
HRW: M23 rebels were set against opposition protests
In 2016, the Congolese security service recruited over 200 men from the M23 rebel movement. These were launched at the end of the year (see December 2016) against the opposition’s demonstrations and should have been encouraged to use deadly force. 62 people were killed in connection with the protests. Human Rights Watch (HRW) writes in a report . The recruitment must have taken place among M23 members in exile, and each one should have received several hundred dollars in payment. M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa says that his organization has nothing to do with this and that it is about people who deserted from M23 or were forced to leave the movement. Delphin Kahimbi, head of the Congo-Kinshasa Military Intelligence Service, also mentioned in the report, denies any involvement.
The opposition defies demonstration bans
Opposition supporters defy the demonstration ban imposed by the authorities and conduct protests against President Kabila in Kinshasa and several other Congolese cities. Police use tear gas to disperse the protesters. Several leading opposition politicians are reported to have been arrested, including Jean-Marc Kabund from UPDS and Martin Fayulu from the same party.
Trial begins against 36 members of Kamuina Nsapu militia
36 people suspected of belonging to the militia group Kamuina Nsapu (sometimes spelled Kamwina Nsapu) are being tried before a military court for violence in Kinshasa in May and June. Among other things, it was about an attack on a prison, which led to 4,000 prisoners able to escape.
The UN reports a sharp increase in MRI crime
The UN expresses concern about the rapid increase in the number of human rights violations in Congo-Kinshasa. The UN force Monusco registered 704 abuses during the month of October, which is 60 percent more than in August. It is about both extra-judicial executions and rapes. In several cases, the victims have been children. Nearly two-thirds of the assaults were committed by the police, the army or other security forces, but several armed groups also committed serious human rights violations. The majority of the abuses (70 percent) occurred in Ituri, North and South Kivu and Tanganyika.
Mileage leaders are arrested in Kasai
Ngalamulume wa Ngalamulume, who is believed to be leading the militia Kamuina Nsapu in the Kasai region, is accused of having ordered the beheading of six people, including four school inspectors on their way to a school to oversee exams.
Opposition supporters are arrested in Kivu provinces
Some 40 opposition from the Lucha civil movement in North and South Kivu are arrested by police. This is to stop all planned political protests against Kabila’s rule. The Kinshasa Police Chief said in a statement that they will intervene to disperse all public groups consisting of more than five people.
Amnesty: Electronics companies can do more to stop child labor
Amnesty International criticizes several electronics companies for not doing more to report which suppliers supply them with cobalt, which is used in a variety of electronic products. According to Amnesty’s report, Apple is one of the few companies to make greater progress. Much of the cobalt mining in Congo-Kinshasa occurs informally and often under dangerous conditions. Child labor is also common. The price of cobalt has risen sharply in the past year, largely due to the increased use of metal in batteries for electric cars.
The opposition strongly criticizes the election commission
The largest opposition parties are criticizing the new date for the election set by the Electoral Commission Ceni. Félix Tshisekedi from the Collection said in a statement, supported by both MLC and UNC, that Ceni in its decision violates the constitution, election law and the agreement concluded by the government with the opposition at the end of 2016.
New election date in December 2018
The Election Commission now says that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on December 23, 2018. And that a new president should be able to take office on January 12, 2019. The Election Commission had previously announced that no elections could be held until 2019. Some analysts point out that the new message comes after US Ambassador Nikki Haley visited Congo-Kinshasa. However, the message contains a flurry that further delays may be required if voting lengths and other electoral preparations are not ready in time.
Concerns in the province of Tanganyika are fleeing hundreds of thousands
At least half a million people have since been forced to flee unrest in the province of Tanganyika in the southeastern part of the country. Thousands have taken refuge in neighboring Zambia, according to information from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). Struggles between the peoples of Luba and Twice flared up in 2013, but the situation has worsened in recent months. The refugees are in great need of help and according to the NRC about 80 percent of them lack clean drinking water.
Major strike in protest against Kabila in Bukavu
Schools, banks and shops are closed in the city of Bukavu in South Kivu as part of a major protest against President Kabila. At the same time, there are reports of fighting in the vicinity of the city of Goma which should have claimed at least four lives.
Risk of famine in Kasai
The head of the United Nations Food Program WFP, David Beasley, warns of a famine disaster in the Kasai area. Three million people are in the danger zone, as many children already suffer from malnutrition and risk dying if no help comes.
Opposition to the opposition in Lubumbashi
The government makes a crackdown on the opposition and seizes some 30 UDPS members gathered in Lubumbashi. The UDPS meeting is prohibited by the authorities. The arrests are criticized by UN forces Monusco, which also calls on the authorities to release Kyungu wa Kumwanza, leader of the Unafec opposition party, who has been in house arrest for months without being charged with anything. At the same time, the police deploy tear gas to opposition supporters who have gone to the Lubumbashi airport to welcome Félix Tshisekedi. Budget Minister Pierre Kangudia Mbayi, from the opposition party Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC), decides to leave the unity government.
Criticism of Congo-Kinshasa taking a seat in the United Nations MRI Council
The decision to elect Congo-Kinshasa into the UN Human Rights Council draws criticism from, among others, Human Rights Watch (HRW). HRW points out that of the more than 5,000 human rights violations reported to the organization in 2016, 64 percent were committed by Congolese military and police.
ADF-Nalu is suspected of murdering 20 civilians
The body of 26 people, almost all civilians who were abducted by militiamen in the Beni area of Kivu the week before, is found dead. The Islamist group ADF-Nalu is suspected of the act.
Election Commission: No elections until April 2019
Election Commission Ceni says no elections will be held this year. The first possible date for the elections is in April 2019. The Commission intends to present a more detailed timetable later this fall. It is uncertain whether the settlement between the government and the opposition that was concluded at the beginning of the year will last. As a reason, Ceni states that it takes another three months to establish new voting lengths in the troubled Kasai.
Savings plans worry the UN chief
The UN Security Council votes to cut the UN force Monusco by 2,000 men. This is done after pressure from the USA. At the same time, all Member States have agreed to save $ 600 million on peacekeeping operations. However, UN chief António Guterres, in a secret stamped report leaked to the media, warns about the consequences of more cuts in Congo-Kinshasa before elections could be held, and he emphasizes how important the country is to the stability of the region.
New unrest in South Kivu
William Yakutumba, the leader of the militia Mai Mai Yakutumba in South Kivu, directs a declaration of war against President Kabila, who he is accusing of disregarding the country, for violating the constitution by remaining in power despite his term in office and for killing peacefully protesters protesting against this. Following clashes between militiamen believed to belong to Yakutumba’s group and the government army in Uvira, near the border with Burundi, UN sends troops to the area to prevent further violence escalation. Mai-Mai Yakutumba was formed in 2007 by local militiamen who did not want to be integrated into the government army. William Yakutumba believes that he was not rewarded enough for his support to Laurent-Desiré Kabila during the 1998 to 2003 war. His militia is believed to have received weapons from Burundi and Tanzania in exchange for gold from Fizi mines in South Kivu. Another group called AA64 is also believed to be active in the area and is led by people in exile. Reports also come about clashes between government forces and the Mai Mai militia in North Kivu, where former Foreign Minister Mbusa Nyamwisi is believed to have a central role. It appears that the militia also has links to former members of the two-headed rebel group M23.
Requirements for a new transition board without Kabila
Two leading opposition politicians, Félix Tshisekedi and Moïse Katumbe, say in a joint statement that since there does not appear to be any election before the turn of the year, a new transitional regime should be created, in which President Kabila must not participate. Instead, it should be led by consensus-focused people who are preparing new elections. Kabila and the Election Commission have lost their confidence, it goes on to say. The statement has also been signed by a number of other people from civil society.
Thirty Burundian refugees are killed
At least 36 Burundian refugees are killed by Congolese security forces in the town of Kamanyola in South Kivu’s eastern Congo-Kinshasa. Death shootings occur in connection with Burundian refugees protesting that some of them should be rejected and sent back to Burundi. Hundreds of people are also injured. According to a Home Office spokeswoman, the unrest erupts when a group of refugees attack a prison and demand that four burundians threatened with rejection be released. He claims that the soldiers initially fire warning shots in the air, but that they then open fire against stone-throwing burundians. The Burundian refugees participating in the protests belong to a small sect who is a supporter of a female prophet, Zebiya, and they fear that they will be persecuted for their faith if they are to return to Burundi. At the beginning of 2018, the UN will commission an investigation into the event.
Over 500 dead in cholera epidemic
More than 500 people, according to the World Health Organization, have died of cholera in Congo-Kinshasa. The cholera epidemic is said to have spread to 20 of the country’s 26 provinces. About 24,000 suspected cases have been reported since the beginning of the year.
Nearly 4 million internally displaced people in Congo-Kinshasa
UNHCR estimates that the number of internal refugees in Congo-Kinshasa has almost doubled in six months to 3.8 million, largely due to the unrest in Kasai, where around 1.4 million people were forced to flee.
Over 200 dead in landslides
About 200 people are killed when heavy rainfall triggers landslides in an area near Lake Albert.
Requirements for special investigation into the murder of UN employees
The United States, Sweden, members of the expert group investigating abuse in Kasai, as well as several human rights organizations want the UN Secretary-General to appoint a special investigation into the murders of Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp (see March and May 2017). A UN investigation now identifies militants in Kasai as those behind the murders . The lack of evidence means that it cannot be ruled out that others may also have been involved, it further states. Without a legal process, neither can certainly be said about the motive for the murder or who the perpetrators are, according to the investigators. Two people have been charged with involvement in the murders, but others have not been prosecuted even though there is evidence against them, UN investigators say. A Congolese military prosecutor has said there is no evidence to suggest that the military was involved. In April, Congolese authorities showed a grainy film for reporters, which they said showed how the militia Kamwina Nsapu killed UN employees. However, according to analysts, with which the news agency Reuters spoke, the film sequence raises more questions than it answers.
Tshisekedi may be buried in his home country
The government agrees to bring back the surviving opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi’s remains from Belgium to his home country. He is to be buried in N’sele, less than ten miles from Kinshasa. According to Tshisekedi’s family, an agreement was reached on June 6. The government has been worried that unrest would erupt if the family was allowed to bury him in Congo-Kinshasa.
251 civilians murdered in Kasai
A UN investigation reports on a total of 251 extrajudicial executions of civilians in the Kasai region from mid-March to mid-June. Among the abuses are the murders of 90 people in a hospital attacked by an armed force. The investigators hold both the government army and a state-supported militia called Bana Mura and the hostile militia Kamuina Nsapu (sometimes spelled Kamwina Nsapu) responsible for the murders. Among the victims are 62 children, 30 of whom are younger than eight years. The information is based on testimony from people who moved to Angola.
Voice registration begins in Kasai
The President of the Election Commission says that the security conditions in the conflict-ravaged Kasai region have improved so that it can soon be possible to register voters. However, it is still unclear if this can really happen during the year.
Called for Mai Mai leaders surrender to UN
The rebel leader Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, from Mai Mai Sheka, surrenders to the UN peacekeeping force in Nordkivu in the eastern part of the country. He is wanted for living against humanity, including mass rape. His militia and two armed groups are accused of raping nearly 400 people in 13 villages in 2010. They are also said to have burned down nearly 1,000 residential buildings and removed about 100 people into forced labor.
The UN requires elections
The UN Security Council demands that the Congo-Kinshasa authorities adhere to the agreement concluded at the New Year and carry out promised general elections before the end of the year. The UN warns of increased concern throughout the region unless elections are made.
Three are appointed to investigate human rights violations in Kasai
The UN appoints three human rights experts who will lead an international investigation into the mass murder and other crimes in the Kasai region in recent months. The UN Human Rights Office in Congo-Kinshasa accuses parts of the Congolese army of having excavated most of the mass graves found in the area. The experts come from Senegal, Canada and Mauritania.
Plan to force Kabila away
Several opposition parties are presenting a plan for how President Kabila should be forced to relinquish power. Spokesman François Muamba says the action plan will start with a two-day nationwide general strike from August 8. On August 20, simultaneous demonstrations are planned in Kinshasa and all provinces. Unless Kabila announces the date of the general election by the end of September, he shall no longer be recognized as President from October 1. From that date, residents will be asked to stop paying state tax and stop paying water and electricity bills.
New mass graves are found in Kasai
A further 38 suspected mass graves containing the remains of an unknown number of people have been found in the Kasai region. Thus, a total of over 80 mass graves have been found in the area since the violence erupted a year ago.
Eight are convicted of assault in Kasai
Eight soldiers are sentenced by a military court to lengthy prison sentences for murders and other abuses against the civilian population of the Kasai region. Two of the soldiers are sentenced to life imprisonment, two received a 20-year sentence, three sentenced to 15 years in prison and one to one year. One of the soldiers is acquitted. However, the court chooses not to convict the soldiers for war crimes.
Concern is mounting in Nordkivu
The governor of eastern North Kivu warns of mounting unrest in the province and urges the government forces to intervene more vigorously. Reports come about that Mai Mai militias attacked border posts and army posts. Earlier in June, at least 16 people were killed in fighting between government forces and what is believed to be a Mai Mai militia.
UN criticizes military court
The UN criticizes a military court that has decided not to prosecute seven Congolese soldiers for crimes against humanity . The seven are charged with war crimes: murders, mutilations and other serious abuses in the village of Mwanza Lomba in the Kasai area. The charge was sparked after a video reached the media in February. In it you could see, among other things, how soldiers opened fire on civilians. Representatives of the UN believed that a criminal charge against humanity would have sent an important signal to other armed groups that their acts of violence would be severely punished. At the same time, information comes that the UN has found ten new mass graves in the Kasai region. This means that a total of 52 mass graves have been discovered in the area since August 2016.
The UN investigates abuse in Kasai
The UN is launching an investigation into the abuses that have occurred in the Kasai area. This is done on behalf of the 47 countries of the UN Human Rights Council. Some Western countries and human rights organizations express dissatisfaction with the limitations of the investigation’s mandate.
Churches: over 3,300 victims of violence in Kasai
According to data from the Catholic Church, more than 3,300 people have been killed during the wave of violence in the Kasai region since October 2016. The UN has previously reported that 20 mass graves have been discovered in the area. Twenty villages must have been totally destroyed, 10 of them by government forces, 4 by militia groups and six by unknown perpetrators. According to figures from the Norwegian Refugee Council, 1.3 million people have been forced to flee the violence. Both the government army and the militia group Kamwina Nsapu have committed serious abuse in Kasai.
The threat from the LRA is increasing
The LRA guerrilla is reported to have kidnapped some 60 civilians in Haut-Uele Province near the border with Sudan. They will be released later, but that is one of several signs that the LRA has become more active in the area since the US-led special forces have begun to retreat.
Exemption of over 900 prisoners in Nordkivu
More than 900 prisoners are released by armed men who storm the prison in Beni in Nordkivu. After that, a curfew is introduced in Beni and a nearby town of Butembo. Many of the prisoners have previously fought for the Islamist ADF militia and were captured during the wave of violence that took off in 2013.
Nine new names on the EU sanctions list
The EU is imposing sanctions on another nine Congolese who believe they have made the election process more difficult and committed human rights violations in connection with this. Among them are both the current and former Interior Minister (Evariste Boshab and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari), the government spokesman and the head of the Congolese security service. Among other things, their potential financial assets in the EU are blocked, and they are prohibited from entering the EU. Previously, seven Congolese had been included on the EU sanctions list.
Hundreds of thousands of children are threatened by famine in Kasai
24th of May
Nearly 400,000 children are at risk of starving to death in the troubled Kasai region, where over a million people have been driven away from their homes during the last months of violence.
Investigation against suspected ex-minister
The Prosecutor’s Office is launching a preliminary investigation against a former minister who is suspected of participating in violent acts in the Kasai region. The two UN employees, among them a Swedish, who were murdered in the area in March, are said to have led their own investigation into the former minister’s support for the militia movement Kamuina Nsapu (sometimes spelled Kamwina Nsapu). The Congolese authorities’ investigation into the murders of UN personnel has led to two men being prosecuted, but the UN questions whether that investigation has been right.
Ebola outbreak in the north
The government reports to the World Health Organization (WHO) that Ebola has erupted in an area in Bas-Uele province in the north. In July 2017, the outbreak was said to be over. Four people had then died in the disease.
New government clear, criticized by the opposition
President Kabila presents a list of 60 ministers and deputy ministers in a newly formed and expanded government. Almost all ministers from the previous government are left and a number of opposition representatives are included. The new government is a result of the agreement on power sharing that was signed in December 2016 and is led by opposition politician Bruno Tshibala (see April 2017). Félix Tshisekedi, from one of the three factions of the Collection, says that the new government lacks all legitimacy.
More than a million have moved
UN figures show that more than a million people have left their homes since fighting broke out between government forces and rebel groups in the Kasai region in August.
Opposition politicians become prime minister
President Joseph Kabila appoints opposition politician Bruno Tshibala as prime minister. Tshibala is the spokesperson for a faction of the Assembly (Le Rassemblement), but was excluded earlier this year from the UPDS and the part of the opposition alliance led by Félix Tshisekedi The change to the Prime Minister’s post takes place in accordance with the agreement reached by the government and the opposition after mediation from the Catholic Church. The agreement means that Kabila can remain president until the end of 2017 and rule together with a transitional government. The agreement stipulates that the new prime minister should be taken from the opposition.
Swedish UN expert is murdered
Swedish-Chilean UN expert Zaida Catalán, an American UN employee, Michael Sharp, and their Congolese interpreter Betu Tshintela, are found murdered in the Kasai region. They were in the area to investigate abuses that must have been committed in connection with the Kamwina Nsapu militia uprising.
“Mass graves in Kasai”.
The UN announces that ten mass graves have been discovered in the violent region of Kasai in the central part of the country. The situation in Kasai has been troubling since mid-August 2016 when government forces killed a local rebel leader, Kamuina Nsapu (sometimes spelled Kamwina Nsapu). Three of the graves are said to have been found in the city of Tshimbulu, where government soldiers clashed with supporters of Nsapu in February 2017 and over 100 people were killed. In total, over 400 people are estimated to have lost their lives in the conflict.
The collection is shattered
4th of March
Bruno Tshibala has been ruled out of the Assembly since he was a candidate for Félix Tshisékédi in the party leadership election. Félix Tshisekedi wins and Pierre Lumbi Okongo, from G7 , becomes deputy party leader. Disagreement within the opposition alliance leads to its division into three parts. Tshibala, who opposes the G7’s influence in the Collection increased, now joins a faction formed by Joseph Olengankoy. The third is led by Jean-Pierre Lisanga Bonganga.
Dispute surrounding Tshisekedi’s funeral
Tshisekedi’s supporters demand that their leader be flown home from Brussels, where he died, and that the veteran politician be buried in a mausoleum in Kinshasa. The government delays the decision with concern that a funeral in the capital could be turned into a demonstration of power for the opposition.
Twenty civilian Hutus killed in militia attack
About 25 people, most of them Hutu, are killed in the village of Kyaghala Nordkivu by militants from the Nande people belonging to Mai-Mai Mazembe. The act raises concerns that new violence will erupt in the area. The UN requires that the incident be investigated. The same is true of another deed a few days earlier, where government soldiers are suspected to have killed hundreds of people in Kasai-Central.
“Can’t afford to hold presidential election 2017”
Budget Minister Pierre Kangudia says it will cost $ 1.8 billion to hold presidential elections and that there will be no money to hold it in 2017.
The UN criticizes the government army for violence against militia
Struggles between government troops and the Kamwina Nsapu militia in the city of Tshimbulu in Kasai-Central Province are reported to have claimed 101 lives. The UN force Monusco criticizes the government army, which is equipped with heavy weapons, for using force in the clashes with the militia, which is mainly armed with machete blades, gunfire and a few hunting weapons.
Étienne Tshisekedi dies
Opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi dies in Belgium at the age of 84. This makes it even more difficult to resolve the ongoing political crisis, as the UDPS leader would have led the transitional council agreed by the parties in December 2016. UDPS supporters gather outside the EtienneTshisekedi residence in Kinshasa, where clashes break out between opposition activists and police.
Power struggle threatens agreement
The whole process of appointing a prime minister is delayed by a power struggle over who should be able to appoint a new prime minister. The opposition has nominated Félix Tshisekedi, but the government wants five different candidates to choose from. There is also disagreement about how the electoral commission should be designed and the timetable for the elections. Both sides accuse each other of creating problems. Neither President Kabila nor Prime Minister Badibanga have signed the agreement mediated by the Catholic Church. Kabila is also losing allies in the outside world, when, for example, Angola, who previously supported the president, distances him.
Badibanga negative to new agreement
New Prime Minister Sami Badibanga rejects the agreement on power sharing mediated by the Catholic Church. He says there is no reason to replace one unpopular agreement with another. In the past, several people in the circle around Kabila have made similar statements.
Agreement clear, but not signed
A breakthrough is being made in the talks under the Catholic Church’s mediation and the parties agree that elections must be held in 2017 and that Kabila may remain up to the election in the leadership of a transitional government, while the opposition should appoint the prime minister. According to the agreement, Kabila is not allowed to stand for re-election. However, neither Joseph Kabila nor opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi have signed the agreement.