No elections this year, protests put down with violence, and international sanctions

DR Congo has been in the news again for political unrest. The campaign to elect a new president was supposed to begin on Sept. 19. Recently the electoral commission declared that no elections can be held until a new census has been taken and Kabila will remain in power until elections. Opposition parties have boycotted the “dialogue” claiming it favors the president; they planned peaceful demonstrations for Sept. 19.

These turned violent when government security forces opened fire; in Kinshasa opposition neighborhoods were surrounded by military. Most people remained within doors, children did not attend school, food was scarce with shops closed. Some calm has now returned but it is precarious.

The Catholic bishops have withdrawn from the “dialogue,” further reducing its claim to be a fair venue for discussion of the situation. International sanctions have targeted major figures behind Kabila; for example, the US has frozen American assets of Maj. General Amisi Kumba and John Numbi, a former senior police official. These sanctions have as their goal encouraging Congo keep to its constitution but as yet they have not had much effect & Kabila is working to change the constitution. Please keep our sisters & brothers in your thoughts & prayers.

See The Guardian, Sept. 28, 2016.