Constitutional crisis: Background: Following years of civil war, a new constitution was ratified and in 2006 the DRC successfully held national elections for the first time in decades. Joseph Kabila was elected president. In the 2011 elections President Kabila was re-elected for a second 5-year term, though the voting was marred by many irregularities. The next elections are scheduled for Nov. 2016, and according to the constitution President Kabila cannot stand for a third term.
Crisis: There are increasing tensions and protests, and the major opposition candidate, Moise Katumbi, has been forced to flee the country and sentenced to jail in absentia “for illegally selling a property.” The high court has decreed that President Kabila will stay in power until elections are held, so indefinite postponement is a possibility. The international community has threatened sanctions, which President Kabila labels as imperialism. The EnoughProject says that Congolese activists see economic pressure as the best way to hold Kabila accountable and bring about elections; they urge Americans to ask their Congress members to co-sponsor H.Res.780.
Sources: Jeffrey Gettleman in the NYTimes, May 11, 2016; BBC News, Africa, May 11, 2016; Le monde, May 20 & May 23, 2016; Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2016. EnoughProject.org/ Raise Hope for Congo, June 28, 201