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Tshisekedi's death undermines chances of 2017 transition

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The death of Congo’s opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi leaves opponents of President Joseph Kabila seriously weakened in their bid to force Kabila to quit power after he defied constitutional term limits to stay on last year.

The DRC has never experienced a peaceful transition of power and Kabila’s refusal to stand down when his final term expired in December has raised fears the unstable country could slide back into civil war.

“ He has been taken away from us. We do not know who can replace him. All the others left are traitors looking for power and ways to share the national cake. Tshisekedi was different judging from his negotiation resistance, “ a mourner said.

Analysts say political wrangling within Tshisekedi’s party may weaken gains they had made so far.

“I think politicians in this country should make an effort to change. The stage they are at now is what I qualify as “politics of the stomach”. When they want to be part of a government, it’s not the interest of the country, but for their own interests, so that they can become ministers and amass a small fortune. If it continues like that, we will just be going round and round and there will be no evolution,” political analyst, Tsitenge Lubaru said.

Meanwhile, negotiations on implementing the December deal had already stalled amid wrangling over the composition of the power-sharing government, rendering the prospect of an election by the end the year increasingly remote.

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