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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More