The fate of DR Congo seems to hinge on President Kabila’s apparent bid to stay in power. Berlin is being asked to help resolve a crisis, as Congolese recall how it financially supported their elections in 2006. No matter which radio station one listens to in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the main issue is the current political crisis and the dialogue which is attempting to resolve it. Everyone is hoping for a breakthrough. But after more than a month since dialogue between government and a section of the opposition began, many questions remain unanswered as the clock ticks toward December 19, the day when President Joseph Kabila term in office officially ends. At the beginning of October, the electoral commission announced that elections would be postponed until December 2018. The commission said it would not be possible to register all voters and then prepare for a poll originally slated for the end of 2016.
Two of the country’s most influential opposition politicians, Etienne Tshisekedi and Moise Katumbi, however, have rejected the postponement. Members of the “Rassemblement” or “Rally” platoform have already announced that they intend to show President Kabila the “yellow card” on October 19, followed by a “red card” on December 19, evidently in the form of street protests.
These announcements have raised fears among Congolese of further unrest. At least 53 people were killed in violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces in late September, according to the United Nations. Human rights organizations say the true death toll is probably much higher.
… A way out of the crisis is not in sight. For this reason, the word “Germany” seems to be cropping up frequently in discussions with political and civil society actors. “Germany can do a lot,” says Abbe Donatien Nshole, a representative of DR Congo’s Catholic Church, which has withdrawn from the national dialogue. “One of the challenges is the lack of money. With sufficient funds, it would be possible, for example,to procure several kits of election materials simultaneously,” Nshole told DW.