THE Democratic Republic of Congo opposition is adamant – no more talking: President Joseph Kabila must go by the end of the year, when the extension of his mandate brokered by the Catholic Church expires.
But, asks the Congo Research Group, does the opposition really have the leverage? At the UN meeting last week on Congo’s delayed elections, “the sentiment expressed by African delegates was almost unanimous: Kabila has engaged in good-faith efforts to negotiate with the opposition, the electoral process should be given time.”
There was no talk, even by Western donors, of Kabila stepping down at the end of 2017. According to CRG, donors think that sooner or later Kabila will be forced to hold elections, as was supposed to have happened at the end of his second term in December 2016.
What they want to avoid is for Kabila to change the constitution and run for a third term, or rig the ballot. Those are big asks: in the meantime, Kabila appears to have the upper hand.