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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.