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

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    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.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora