A report released by the International Crisis Group shows the deterioration of security situation and rise of violence in DR Congo, provoked by the President’s Kabila subversion of the 2016 “Comprehensive and Inclusive Political Agreement”, commonly known as the Saint Sylvester agreement. The overthrow of the document, which stipulated that elections should occur in 2017 and that President Kabila should leave power, is likely to increase polarization and destabilize the whole region.
“We have seen violence in different provinces if the country come from really nowhere, nobody saw this coming in the middle of 2016 and we are now looking at the situation, where according to the Catholic Church a thousands have died this year. So there is evident concern of growing instability and a frustration at the political blockage that is fueling popular frustration and the spread of violence in DR Congo,” said Richard Moncrieff, the International Crisis Group’s Central Africa Project Director.
The international community, according to the expert, is not taking sufficient steps to push President Kabila to observe the terms of the Saint Sylvester agreement in order to establish the confidence necessary to carry out a credible and peaceful vote and to maintain stability in its aftermath. The further ignorance of the situation in the republic may provoke a major crisis and increase in polarization in the second-largest in Africa, with a population of over 70 million.
Joseph Kabila became president when his father Laurent was assassinated in 2001. He was elected in 2006, and secured another term in controversial elections in 2011. Following the chaos after the 2011 elections, and rise of the political temperature in the country, the African Union Commission launched an initiative in support of a national political dialogue. On 31 December 2016, the DR Congo ruling political party coalition known as the Alliance of the Presidential Majority and the opposition signed the Saint Sylvester agreement.