DRC president to send army to end communal violence

The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, has vowed to send in the army to end communal violence in which hundreds of people have been killed.

Around half a million people have fled their homes to escape the mass killings.

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Chappelle reports.

DRC president Felix Tshisekedi arrives in the country (Zambia)

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi has arrived in the country for a two day state visit.President Tshisekedi is expected to hold talks with President Edgar Lungu and officiate at the Zambia International Trade Fair in Ndola tomorrow.

The plane carrying the DRC leader touched down at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) in Lusaka at about 12:32 hours to a thunderous welcome from thousands of flag waving and ecstatic Congolese nationals.

He was received by his host counterpart President Edgar Lungu, Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji, Zambia’s Ambassador to DRC Friday Nyambe and DRC Ambassador to Zambia Chantal Maloba.Others include some cabinet ministers, Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa, Senior government and party officials, and embassy staff were on hand to welcome the DRC leader.

President Tshisekedi who is undertaking his first visit to Zambia since ascending to office on January 25, inspected a guard of honour and was given a 21 gun salute.

President Tshisekedi created excitement and frenzy among the Congolese nationals as he waved and walked over to greet them and appreciated the cultural dances and songs.

The DRC leader is expected to lay wreaths at the graves of Zambia’s fallen Presidents at the Presidential Embassy Memorial Park in Lusaka. Mr Tshisekedi will then engage President Lungu in talks aimed at strengthening mutual ties and cooperation between the two countries.

President Lungu is later today expected to host a State dinner in honour of visiting DRC leader Felix Tshisekedi. Mr Tshisekedi will fly out to Ndola tomorrow morning to officiate at the 55th edition of the Zambia International Trade Fair.

President Tshisekedi is the Fifth President of the DRC, having ascended to office in January this year after winning a tightly contested and delayed national election, to find a successor to President Joseph Kabila.

Thousands In Congo Trek To Opposition Icon’s Reburial

The father of President Felix Tshisekedi, opposition icon Etienne Tshisekedi, was laid to rest Saturday in his homeland more than two years after he died during a political stalemate over the country’s long-delayed elections.

Thousands took part in the procession which made its way to the outskirts of Kinshasa following several days of tributes to the man who was the face of Congo’s opposition for decades but died before his political nemesis agreed to step aside and allow a new presidential vote to go forward.

Because of his years of activism, Tshisekedi , age 84, was at times put under house arrest and his supporters jailed.

Tens of thousands greeted his casket as it was driven through the streets of the capital Thursday evening and then displayed at Martyrs Stadium the following day. Even the political coalition of his lifelong adversary, former President Joseph Kabila, issued a statement calling Tshisekedi “undoubtedly one of the major political actors of our country.” The funeral mass was led by Archbishop of Kinshasa Fridolin Ambongo. The country’s influential Catholic church had urged its members to turn out at the 80,000-capacity Martyrs’ Stadium.

On Friday, the presidents of Rwanda and Angola, were among huge crowds to pay their respects in the same stadium in the capital, Kinshasa.

At the time of his 2017 death in Brussels, family members say Kabila had blocked the return of his body to Congo for fear it could foment unrest and more calls for his ouster.

Tshisekedi was one of the most outspoken critics of Kabila, at one point accusing him of treason for not stepping down when his mandate ended. Kabila eventually allowed elections to be held in January, which Felix Tshisekedi won.

It took the hearse seven hours to reach its destination in Kinshasa on Thursday night as throngs of supporters took to the streets.

“I’m sorry that his body had to stay two years abroad but today we are showing our commitment to him still,” Georgette Lobota said as she sold bread at the sports stadium where Tshisekedi’s body lay in state Friday, dressed in fabric with his image. “He will finally be honored as a dignified son of Congo.”

Tshisekedi seeks to assert authority over pro-Kabila governors

KINSHASA: Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on Monday (May 13) cautioned the country’s newly elected provincial governors, many allied to his predecessor Joseph Kabila, to align themselves to his vision and steer clear of corruption.

“First of all, I would like to remind you that you are the worthy representatives of the president of the republic in your respective provinces. This requires you to adopt exemplary behaviour in the management of your respective entities,” Tshisekedi told a seminar for 23 governors elected last month.

“This also means you must develop your programmes … by incorporating my vision which seeks the comprehensive development of our country.”

Most of the 23 governors come from the pro-Kabila Common Front for Congo (FCC) coalition.

Kabila, who had been in power for 18 turbulent years, yielded power to Tshisekedi after December elections in the first peaceful change of power since the country’s independence from Belgium in 1960.

Another opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, disputes the legitimacy of the December 30 elections and claims his rivals stitched up a deal to keep him out of power.

Tshisekedi won the presidential election, but a parliamentary vote held the same day left the 500-seat legislature dominated by Kabila-allied parties.

The imbalance has left Tshisekedi, inaugurated on Jan 24, unable to appoint a prime minister of his choosing, and delayed planned policy changes.

Tshisekedi and Kabila have agreed to form a coalition government.

“I will fight with all my energy against corruption, the misappropriation of public money, tribalism, nepotism (and) bribery,” Tshisekedi told the governors.

Having visited several provinces recently, he said he was “shocked by the administrative, police, and military harassment facing the population.”

DRC president is making all the right moves

President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has not done too badly as he closes in on his first 100 days in office. His latest move is another long overdue, but decisive, step.
By dropping the frivolous May 2016 charges against exiled Moïse Katumbi, Tshisekedi probably solidified his base, especially when his rival Martin Fayulu is calling for the Congolese to remove him from the presidency.

Katumbi, 55, is an accomplished businessman and former governor of the DRC’s richest province, Katanga. This is the part of the DRC with about 3% of the world’s cobalt and the bulk of its copper. All things being equal, he is grounded man; not perfect, but has a huge following. This is thanks to his business success and patronage of the “almighty” TP Mazembe football club.

The politics of the DRC is always about nine other countries and, by extrapolation, all of Africa.

Instability in the DRC affects north, east, west and southern Africa. It’s a large country with abundant resources: gold, diamond, copper and coltan – and that is before we consider the River Congo, which could literally light up all of Africa with hydro-power.

A Conversation With Félix Tshisekedi

The head of State Tshisekedi made a presentation on the general situation of the DRC and answered questions in front of a floor composed of American academics, lobbyists, and other specialists of the Congo during a council on foreign relations.

Ebola, trade and security to be discussed as DRC’s Tshisekedi visits US

Democratic Republic of Congo’s president Felix Tshisekedi was on Tuesday welcomed to the United States by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, kicking off what should be an exploration of ways to develop a strong partnership between the two countries.

The United States has imposed sanctions on Congolese officials it accuses of manipulating the election that brought Tshisekedi into power.

Last week, the spokesperson of the State Department Robert Palladino, said Pompeo and other senior cabinet officials in the Trump administration, would also discuss efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in the violence-plagued eastern region of DRC.

DRC President Tshisekedi confronts Kabila’s establishment

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi is increasingly asserting independence from predecessor Joseph Kabila, despite Kabila having allegedly facilitated his victory in the 30 December 2018 presidential elections.

And the US is evidently helping Tshisekedi’s bid to stop Kabila continuing to pull the strings of power.

While Tshisekedi was officially declared the winner of the presidential poll, despite widespread allegations of massive vote-rigging, Kabila’s Common Front for the Congo (FCC) officially won a clear majority of 337 of the 500 seats in the National Assembly elections on 30 December 2018. Tshisekedi’s Direction for Change coalition came a distant third with just 46 seats. 6

On that basis, Kabila’s FCC has been demanding the major say in the appointment of a Prime Minister, hoping thereby to retain a big hand in government. But Tshisekedi has been resisting.

New Congolese President Pardons About 700 Political Prisoners

The new president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, signed a decree Wednesday pardoning about 700 political prisoners and fulfilling a promise he made in his inaugural address in January.

The conciliatory gesture frees political opponents imprisoned by Tshisekedi’s predecessor, Joseph Kabila, who had governed the central African nation for 18 years. Tshisekedi was elected president of the DR Congo in a disputed election last December which some foreign observers, including the Catholic Church, said favored opposition leader Martin Fayulu.

Tshisekedi’s inauguration marked the first peaceful transfer of power in that country since 1960.

In a ceremony in Kinshasa late last week, Tshisekedi also promised to allow political exiles to return home.

“I will actively work to create the conditions for the early return of compatriots who are currently outside the country for political reasons to carry out their activities in accordance with the law and republican institutions,” said Tshisekedi as quoted by Africanews.

Among the pardoned are Firmin Yangambi, who has already served 19 years of a 20-year sentence on the charge that he was a threat to national security, and opposition leader Franck Diongo who was sentenced to five years in prison, according to the Associated Press.

Top U.S. diplomat’s tour: Cameroon, DRC, Uganda, Rwanda listed

The United States Department of State announced on Thursday that the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, was due to visit four African countries this month.

The diplomat will be in Central, East and southern Africa, the press statement noted. Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC; Uganda and Rwanda will be his destinations.

“He will promote stronger business ties between the United States and Africa, engage Africa’s vibrant youth, strengthen partnerships that aim for greater peace and security, and reinforce the United States’ commitment to the people and nations of Africa,” the statement noted.

In the D.R.C. March 13–15, he will engage NGOs, civil society, and the new D.R.C. government on a range of issues to include strengthening regional stability, promoting good governance, combatting corruption, strengthening commercial ties, and supporting the response to the Ebola outbreak in the eastern D.R.C.

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