The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 30 May 2016

by TRG Alerts Admin on June 6, 2016

The Rendon Group



Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.


Opposition Protests in DR Congo as President Kabila Seeks to Retain Power

A barricade burns in Goma during a protest against President Joseph Kabila.

(Fiston Mahamba/AFP/Getty Images)


This week’s snapshot focuses on the ongoing political crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On 11MAY2016, the country’s supreme court ruled that President Kabila could stay in power beyond the end of his term on 19DEC2016 if elections were delayed, effectively allowing President Kabila to remain in office indefinitely. The opposition held large protests against what it called a “constitutional coup,” which were violently suppressed by the government. Foreign governments have encouraged the government to stick to the country‘s election timetable for NOV2016 elections.


News summary of events during the week of 23MAY16 – 30MAY16


  • 23MAY: The European Union called on DR Congo to stick to the country’s election timetable. (DPA)
  • 24MAY: The government banned public demonstrations in North Kivu province and Lubumbashi city. (AFP)
  • 24MAY: The political bureau of the presidential majority camp announced it will organize a two-day peaceful march across the entire country, starting 25MAY.  (Xinhua)
  • 24MAY: The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) urged authorities to avoid the “excessive use of force” against protesters after expressing concern over the “mounting pressure” faced by activists in the country. (DW)
  • 25MAY: The Citizens’ Front opposition group vowed to continue with nationwide protests in defiance of bans in some regions, calling the freedom to protest “an inalienable right”. (AFP)
  • 25MAY: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for restraint ahead of nationwide opposition protests to demand that President Kabila make way for elections. (AFP)
  • 25MAY: FM Raymond Tshibanda urged the DRC’s “loyal partners” to offer financial support for the electoral process instead of criticism. (AFP)
  • 25MAY: US Assistant Secretary of State David Robinson warned of a potential “disaster” if Congo disintegrates under the pressure of the election crisis. (Globe and Mail)
  • 26MAY: At least one person was reported killed as rallies across the country against President Kabila turned violent, with police firing tear gas in the capital Kinshasa and the eastern city of Goma. (AFP)
  • 27MAY: US senators called on President Barack Obama’s administration to impose targeted sanctions on Congolese officials responsible for violence and rights violations amid rising political tensions. (Reuters)
  • 29MAY: Recently-exiled opposition leader Moise Katumbi flew from South Africa to London. (AFP)


Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about DR Congo political crisis


  • @aaronross6 – Aaron Ross, DR Congo correspondent, Reuters
  • @LloydMayala – David Lloyd Mayala, President, Youth League of Democracy and Human Rights
  • @MuellerTimo – Timo Mueller, DR Congo researcher, Human Rights Watch
  • @soniarolley – Sonia Rolley, Journalist, Radio France Internationale
  • @woudena – Anneke VanWoudenberg, Deputy Africa Director, Human Rights Watch


Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the DR Congo political crisis


Christoph Vogel, Researcher, University of Zurich

[A timely ballot is now] “a largely unrealistic scenario.”

  • “A Constitutional Coup in Congo,” FP, 26MAY2016


Evie Francq, DR Congo researcher, Amnesty International

“What is happening at the national level with the elections is having an effect on the armed groups, they are increasing recruitment.”

  • “Pressure Builds on Congo’s President as EU Foreign Ministers Meet,” WSJ,  23MAY2016


Hans Hoebeke, Senior Congo analyst, International Crisis Group

“Cohesion in the Kabila camp has been maintained these last months. At this stage there is little-to-no pressure on him.”

  • “Congo’s President Shows Would-Be Successor Who Is in Charge,” Reuters, 19MAY2016


Kris Berwouts, Independent Congo analyst

“The government fears [Katumbi] because he has the potential to mobilize an electorate in different parts of the country. There is an aura of success around him.”

  • “Congo’s President Shows Would-Be Successor Who Is in Charge,” Reuters, 19MAY2016


Laura Seay, Assistant professor of government, Colby College

“Many people have significant doubts about how Katumbi amassed his fortune.”


Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the DR Congo political crisis


  1. EU Urges Congo Authorities to Redouble Election Efforts


Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 23 May 2016


The European Union has urged authorities in Congo to breathe new life into the electoral process so that political chaos doesn’t undermine the chances for free, fair and inclusive polls.


EU foreign ministers called Monday on authorities to draw up a new calendar for a vote currently scheduled for November and update electoral lists.


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  1. Congo’s political crisis stokes fears of widespread violence


Media: Associated Press

Byline: Richard Lardner

Date: 23 May 2016


WASHINGTON — A simmering political crisis in Congo that the U.S. and its allies have been unable to defuse is stoking fears in Congress that one of Africa’s largest countries is on the verge of slipping into widespread violence.


Tension is building in Congo over President Joseph Kabila’s maneuvering to avoid national elections and remain in office beyond his constitutionally permitted term, according to U.S. officials and members of a coalition opposing Kabila.


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  1. U.N. concerned by rising political tension in Congo ahead of vote


Media: Reuters

Byline: Louis Charbonneau

Date: 25 May 2016


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday voiced concern about reports of rising political tension in the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to uncertainty about a presidential election scheduled to take place later this year.


The U.N. statement comes days after three Congolese activists, arrested hours before a general strike in February to demand that President Joseph Kabila leave power when his mandate expires this year, were sentenced to a year in prison.


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  1. Two killed in protests against election schedule in Congo


Media: Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)

Byline: Fiston Mahamba and Sinikka Tarvainen

Date: 26 May 2016


Beni, Congo (dpa) – At least two people were killed when tens of thousands of people took to the streets in the Democratic Republic of Congo to demand that national elections be held on time, the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) said Thursday on Twitter.


At least four others were injured and 59 demonstrators were arrested as they clashed with police in different locations around the country, according to the UNJHRO.


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  1. DR Congo opposition protests rocked by ugly incidents


Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 27 May 2016


KINSHASA, May 27 (Xinhua) — Peaceful protests organized on Thursday by various opposition groupings in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), were rocked by ugly incidents, although they did not destabilize the population’s normal activities.


The protests were aimed at denouncing a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court which allowed President Joseph Kabila to remain in power beyond 2016, until the presidential elections are organized.


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