News / Africa

DRC Opposition Wants Mediator at National Dialogue

FILE - M23 rebels hold their weapons as they keep watch near a United Nations peacekeepers check point at Kanyaruchinya village, 3km (1.9 miles) north of Goma city May 15, 2013.FILE - M23 rebels hold their weapons as they keep watch near a United Nations peacekeepers check point at Kanyaruchinya village, 3km (1.9 miles) north of Goma city May 15, 2013.
x
FILE - M23 rebels hold their weapons as they keep watch near a United Nations peacekeepers check point at Kanyaruchinya village, 3km (1.9 miles) north of Goma city May 15, 2013.
FILE - M23 rebels hold their weapons as they keep watch near a United Nations peacekeepers check point at Kanyaruchinya village, 3km (1.9 miles) north of Goma city May 15, 2013.
Nick Long
A group of opposition leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo is demanding an international mediator take part in upcoming talks about the country's future.  The group also warns the consultations, as they are called, should not be used to push through changes to the constitution.   

The plans for Congo's national consultations were announced a week ago by President Joseph Kabila.  No date has been set, but the president has said the dialogue will last no more than 20 days.

A declaration signed by 63 opposition politicians and supporters sets out several objections to the way the consultations are being organized.  Top on this list of complaints is the fact the plan does not refer to a role for international representatives.

Heading the list of people who signed the declaration is opposition GPLS party leader Jose Makila.  

Makila told VOA the group insists there should be mediation or supervision of the consultations by the international community.  He said the demand is in the spirit of a peace agreement signed by President Kabila and other heads of state at an African Union summit in February, and in line with the latest U.N. Security Council resolution on the Congo, agreed to in March.

Makila specified the people his group thinks should be supervising the dialogue.  
He named the U.N. secretary general’s special envoy for the Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson, and the secretary-general’s special representative in the DRC, Martin Kobler, who is also the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission MONUSCO.   

Makila said a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in March instructs Robinson and Kobler, in their current roles, to promote dialogue among all Congolese stakeholders to help resolve the country's problems.

VOA has learned Robinson's office does not think the resolution implies she should oversee the DRC consultations.  But the U.N. peacekeeping mission thinks Kobler should be involved.

The government has yet to spell out what role it thinks Kobler and Robinson should have, if any. 

Francois Nzikuye, a lawmaker from the governing coalition, said the consultations concern internal problems, so there would be no need for an international mediator.  He said it would be different if a power-sharing agreement were on the agenda, but it will not be.

But opposition figures who signed the declaration say President Kabila’s victory in the 2011 election was widely rejected and they warn against attempts at the consultations to revise the constitution to allow Kabila a third term in office.  

This idea has been floated by a former president of the national assembly, Evariste Boshab.

Nzikuye said Professor Boshab is an intellectual and is at liberty to think out loud.  He added the idea of revising the constitution worries most people, but is worth its weight in gold.  

It is unclear how many opposition deputies will attend the consultations.  About 30 who signed the declaration say they will not attend unless their conditions are met, others who did not sign are also expected to boycott the meetings.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs