Thomas Perriello, the United States’ (US) Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa is expected in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to engage with stakeholders in the political dialogue process.
He will be in the DRC for a week, between Friday September 9 – Friday September 15, to engage at length with stakeholders on issues of dialogue, protecting political space, and advancing the electoral process.
The DRC meeting is the second of three stops for Perriello. His tour started in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; where he attended the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State summit which took place on September 8.
His presence at the EAC summit was to lend support to the regional leadership in resolving the Burundi crisis, specifically the EAC-led dialogue amongst Burundian stakeholders.
His trip will conclude in the Belgian capital, Brussels; where he will meet with international and European partners.
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Africanews DRC dossier
- The national dialogue was called by the incumbent president Joseph Kabila
- It officially began on September 1
- It is being facilitated by the African Union (AU)
- The lead mediator is former Togolese Prime Minister, Edem Kodjo.
- The dialogue is backed by the United Nations, the European Union and other countries.
- It’s main aim is to get DRC out of a political crisis that has rocked the country since the disputed re-election of Kabila in 2011.
- Kabila has been in power since 2001, and is constitutionally bound to step down after serving two terms (winning 2006 and 2011 elections)
- Opponents accuse him of deliberately delaying the Nov. 27 poll to cling to power.
- Earlier this year, the country’s highest court ruled in May that if the November polls do not hold, Kabila could remain in power until the next election is held.
- In March, the U.N. Security Council called on the country to organize elections this year
- The government said logistical and budgetary obstacles made it unrealistic.
- The election commission has said it needs more than a year to update voter rolls.
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The Catholic Church, which boasts of 40% of Congolese being adherents, has played a leading role in the process of democratization in the DRC at the beginning of the decade 1990. It threatened withdrawal from the ongoing process if a Kabila mandate extension is pushed.
The electoral body recently stated that elections were not feasible within this year and that a credible register for polls could be ready by middle of 2017. Even with that, opposition members still insist that Kabila should step down at the end of his term.
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Major political players, Etienne Tshisekedi and Moise Katumbi opting out of the process has led to people questioning its credibility. The Lucha party also announced pulling out of the dialogue just when it was about to start.