Opinion: Why DR Congo’s Kabila Is Clinging To Power

Why has President Joseph Kabila chosen to cling to power beyond his constitutional term limit – which expired in December of 2016? Why has the man who organised Democratic Republic of Congo’s only two multiparty elections since independence chosen to sow chaos and instability just when the country needs peace and stability the most? Why did he not proudly allow Congo’s first ever peaceful transfer of power to take place, which could have been his greatest legacy?

These are perhaps the single most important questions analysts, as well as journalists, pro-democracy activists, development workers and a great number of other people in and outside Congo, have been thinking about for some time – and rightly so.

Many hypotheses on why he chose not to leave office have since been presented. For example, one of his top lieutenants, Bernabe Kikaya, argued that Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, is clinging to power (in defiance of Congo’s constitution) to save Congo from a political crisis – a claim only the truly deluded would advance or subscribe to.

According to supporters of Kikaya’s theory, Kabila can only cede power once a new president has been elected – and election for this new president can only be organised by an electoral commission he controls, once Congo’s constitution has been changed to allow him to stand again because only he can be president.

The real reason, however, I suspect, Kabila has chosen to cling to power is more frightening.

Kabila and many of his supporters across Congo and a great number in Kigali and Kampala are frightened that if he cedes power, many of them (even if Kabila himself and a handful others are shielded from justice as a pre-condition for an “honourable” retirement) would be held accountable for aiding and abetting wars and conflicts that killed over 5.4 million Congolese people between 1998 and 2008 and left more wounds on the bodies of Congolese women than on the streets and buildings of the country.

Repealing the New Year’s Eve agreement

Last week, Kabila named Bruno Tshibala as the new prime minister – his second in four months – in attempt to repeal the New Year’s Eve power-sharing agreement, a radical pathway that Congo’s conference of Catholic bishops (CENCO) secured to end the political violence that killed over 200 pro-democracy protesters.

Under this agreement, Kabila agreed, first, not to seek a third term; second, not to alter Congo’s constitution, and last but not least to free all political prisoners.

In return, the opposition coalition known as the Rassemblement agreed to form a government of national unity, pick a prime minister and organise elections that are free and fair. As part of this deal, the Rassemblement also agreed to guarantee a smooth, non-violent transfer of power at the end of 2017, by which time it was agreed Kabila, who stayed for a year as a ceremonial president, will cede power.

Source: Reuters

Article by Vava Tampa

Vava Tampa, a native of Congo, is a community organiser and founder of the rights group Save the Congo!


  1. Chichi

    Is that really a question that begs an answer? He’s an ashore. Kabila and Edgar are like brothers with different sperm donors. And for those who don’t like what I post should do themselves a favour; commit suicide so that you’re no longer bothered by what I post.
    Signs cute Chichi girl

  2. ndolesha

    Africa is cursed. why is it that African leaders cling to power even when the signs are there that they have to leave no matter what. the case of Gambia, Zimbabwe etc. sometimes am tempted to think that their is certain element of civility that God gave our western leaders that our African leaders don’t have. it’s difficult to understand how a president in England would resign because of the referendum result but in Africa a leader would kill his people in order to cement his position.

  3. Peter


  4. east

    chichi have respect for leaders.


    Look who is talking@Chichi this daughter of a cocaine addict has the guts to insult presidents.Her mum is in a mental asylum trying to be human again,shut up you coloured pervert mulatoo.



  7. chips

    Chichi! will u ever give a reasonable and constractive comment on issues at hand?
    Mwasambililafye.your brains are not categorized or organized.u shud have. …….

  8. zimba yolam

    Power is sweet

  9. kopala wonder

    it almost happened in zambia with chiluba and now lungu is pushing for it, its jst african.


    Pliz sing with Zaiko salongo eee ee eee yalinga mosala salongo eee eee eee yalinga motema!


    @Ndolesha how can Africa be cursed when coloured ass lickers like you are busy roaming on this continent.Africa blessed with abundant which whites plundered mercilessy and still do.Wake up from that dream of fantancising about Chichi’s buttocks and be real.

  12. John

    Like Bob Marley said, “Time will tell” he thinks he is living in Heaven but the truth is he is living in Hell…… Let’s not insult each other because we have different views rather give our views and b opened to listen to others even if what they say seems not to make any sense…. {Africa Unite God Bless Africa.

  13. John

    Like Bob Marley said ” Time will tell”…. You think you living in Heaven but the truth is you living in Hell… As Africans let us respect the views of others even when it makes no sense to us because we shall not gain anything by insult and calling each others names …..{ Africa unite}

  14. John

    Like Bob Marley said, “Time will tell” he thinks he is living in Heaven but the truth is he is living in Hell…… Let’s not insult each other because we have different views rather give our views and b opened to listen to others even if what they say seems not to make any sense to us…. {Africa Unite God Bless Africa.

  15. Mumambwe

    What a shallow article but with a sensational title. the journalists of nowadays, awe sure.

  16. @chichi

    Chichi I fucked your mum she was too sexy and lazzzzy bitch

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