Protests in the DRC over election chief appointment plans

Parties angry over moves to appoint figure accused by opposition of helping former leader Kabila rig past elections.

Police in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) made several dozen arrests as they broke up Wednesday’s protests in two cities over plans to name a new head to the country’s election panel, police and activists said.

Political parties and campaign groups are angry over moves to appoint a figure accused by the opposition of helping former President Joseph Kabila rig past elections.

Police arrested 30 demonstrators in Goma, the capital of the eastern North-Kivu province, according to Ghislain Muhiwa, an activist with the group Lucha

Police commissioner Van Aba told AFP news agency the protesters were later released.

DR Congo police use tear gas on protesters outside parliament (2:26)

In Kisangani, in northeast Tshopo province, 17 activists with Lucha and the opposition Filimbi movement were arrested and released an hour later, a police official told AFP.

The protests have been triggered by a decision by the National Assembly, which is dominated by Kabila supporters, to appoint Ronsard Malonda as chairman of the independent national electoral commission, CENI.

Malonda, currently the commission’s secretary-general, is accused by the Lamuka opposition coalition of "abetting every stolen election since 2006".

The protests have been scheduled while President Felix Tshisekedi has still to approve Malonda’s appointment.

President Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Progress (UDPS) called its supporters out on the streets of the capital, Kinshasa, for a march on Thursday, while other movements organised protests for July 13 and 19.

A march last Saturday drew several hundred before it was dispersed by police on its arrival outside Parliament.

Kinshasa’s governor, Gentiny Ngobila, told organisers the demonstrations would not be allowed because of the "state of emergency" declared in the country to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, according to his cabinet.

The measures, which were extended for an additional 15 days on Monday, include a ban on gatherings of more than 20 people.

The largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, the DRC has been notoriously volatile since it gained independence from Belgium 60 years ago, this month.

Tshisekedi took office in January 2019 in the country’s first peaceful political transition.

But he did so after elections rocked by accusations that the results were rigged to deny Tshisekedi’s rival, Martin Fayulu, victory.

Tshisekedi has to govern in coalition with Kabila supporters, who have a commanding majority in Parliament.

Kabila stepped down after 18 years in power but remains influential behind the scenes.

The coalition was rocked last month over judicial reforms put forward by Kabila allies that would define the powers of judges – a move that critics say is a ploy to muzzle the judiciary.

Redaction

All for Human Dignity

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Publié par Kavunga Jean Baptiste

est né le 13 Mars 1985 à Kabasha, un village situé à une quinzaine de kilomètres de la ville de Beni-pour Butembo (Nord-Kivu). Né des parents cultivateurs, j’accusé depuis mon enfance un amour des études. Je obtenu mon certificat d’études primaires en 2002 avant d’embrasser la section Chimie-Biologie dans laquelle je décroché mon diplôme d’État en 2007. Après mes études secondaires, Jean Baptiste Kavunga est parti faire la Technique de Maintenance Informatique et de Gestion de Base des données à l’Institut Supérieur d'Informatique, Programmation et Analyse (ISIPA). (à Kinshasa, en RDC) où je terminé mon cursus universitaire en obtenant un diplôme de graduat en Technique de Maintenance Informatique et de Gestion de Base des données en juillet 2010 avec mention distinction. De Janvier 2011-mai2012, Initiateur un entreprise des vente de fourniture Bureautique appel "El-hamar" Depuis octobre 2012 – Juin 2018 : Deuxième Secrétaire Administratif et en charge de recherches et investigation au sein de la Convention pour le Respect des Droits Humains, CRDH, ONG local de Défense, dénoncer les abus et de Vulgarisation des droits de l’homme, basée à Oïcha, en Territoire de Beni (Triangle de la Mort), dans la Province du Nord-Kivu, en RDC. Depuis Mars 2019 jusqu’aujourd’hui: Coordonnateur et charge de Lobbying au sein de l’ONG "All for Human Dignity" (AHD), d’où je travaille bénévolement.

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