By Gaby Ndongo
The Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) is once again experiencing national instability just after several months from its last turmoil in 2015 of which dozens of people were killed for demonstrating against its president.
Human Rights Watch confirmed a death toll of 36 that included one security officer in the capital, Kinshasa, while four people lost their lives in Goma during the 2015 protest which began on the 19th to 24th January.
The demonstration was triggered by the passing of a parliamentary bill stating that the president, Joseph Kabila, was to remain in power until a national census: led by the University of Kinshasa. However, with a high rate of unemployment and poverty in the DRC under the Kabila-led government, the bill was radically refused by the majority.
At the core of this recent upset in 2016 is the popular opinion among Congolese, from those living within and abroad the DRC, for the removal of the current President Joseph Kabila from power.
President Kabila has served two terms in office as limited in the DRCs Constitution; the last term ending in December of 2016 but the opposition is suspicious of the strategic plan for the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) in asking the Constitutional Court for the election to occur in mid-2017. With an excuse of allowing for an overall voters’ poll that has been delayed, by the lack of funding and the registration of voters.
For this reason, anti-government protests have sparked off once again in the capital city of Kinshasa– situated west – and in one of the DRC’s major cities of Goma, which is situated east of the country, demand for the president to step down. The protests have left at least 50 civilians and three police officers dead on Monday 19th September 2016.
In relation to the DRC’s Constitution, the demonstrations carried out by the Congolese (that have protested)are legitimate because the Constitution gives citizens the duty to oppose those who either seize power by force or through the violation of the Constitution.
However, the country has never experienced the peaceful transition of power; therefore, these recent occurrences are not exceptional but still, they are detrimental. TOJ
Reporting by Gaby Ndongo; Editing by Lauren and Magnificent Mndebele.