Fearing Military Backlash, Kabila Cancels DRC’s 58th Independence Day Parade

Growing dissent within Democratic Republic of Congo military has forced President Joseph Kabila to cancel this year’s 58th Independence celebration.

President Kabila is due to leave office in December when elections are held but signs that he is insisting on holding on power is provoking tension.

Today, the DRC turns 58-years-old but President Kabila will not hold any official celebrations. He addressed the nation last night calling for unity.

The Congolese are geared for elections, but its government does not seem keen. The unease from ordinary members is now spreading to the army where President Kabila has had a grip.

“Even the bigger part of the military is no cooperating,” an official close to events in government states. “So, going into this celebration with a divided military will expose the regime.”

Those within his power system say President Kabila has lost the grip on much of the army and feared holding a massive military operation would expose him.

The sources say President Kabila only enjoys protection from the presidential military guard which make up a very small fraction of the collective army personnel.

Congo’s independence day parades, held each of the last three years, are usually festive events that mark the end of Belgian colonial rule in 1960 and have been used to show off the Central African country’s latest arms acquisitions.

Kabila’s deputy chief of staff, Jean-Pierre Kambila, had also hinted to Reuters news agency on Thursday that there would be no military parade on June 30 “for security reasons”.

The parade was also cancelled in 2012 and 2013 during the country’s war with the M23 rebel group.

Rising violence, a growing humanitarian crisis and a spate of prison breaks have unsettled Africa’s largest copper producer in recent months, adding to an already tense political climate,
Reuters reports.

President Kabila refused to step down at the end of his mandate in December 2016, increasing instability and raising fears of a backslide to the civil wars of the turn of the century that killed millions.

Thousands of inmates have escaped from jails this year, including about 4,000 from the capital Kinshasa’s main high-security prison last month. In response, police and army have set up night-time checkpoints in Kinshasa’s business district of Gombe.

Meanwhile, fighting between government forces and a local armed group in the central Kasai region has killed more than 3,300 people and forced 1.3 million to flee their homes since August.

Opponents accuse Kabila, in power since 2001, of deliberately delaying the next presidential election in order to cling to power, but the government says the delays are due to a slow voter registration process and financing shortfalls.

Meanwhile, The UN Security Council on Friday extended its arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban on the Democratic Republic of Congo until July 1, 2019 and the mandate of the Expert Group assisting the Sanctions Committee through Aug. 1, 2019.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2424 (2018), the Council reaffirmed that the sanctions would apply to individuals and entities designated by the Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1533 (2004) that met criteria outlined in previous resolutions.

By other terms, the Council expressed its intention to review the Expert Group’s mandate and take action on any further extension no later than July 1, 2019.

It requested the Expert Group to provide a mid-term report no later than Dec. 30, 2018, and a final report no later than June 15, 2019, as well as to submit monthly updates to the Committee, except in the months when the mid-term and final reports were due.

In that context, the Council reiterated the need for the government to swiftly and fully investigate the killing of the two members of the Group of Experts and the four Congolese nationals accompanying them, and to bring those responsible to justice.

The experts, Michael Sharp, 34, an American, and Zaida Catalan, 36, a Swede, were investigating crimes associated with a rebellion in central Kasai Province of the DRC when they were abducted along with four Congolese colleagues in March 2017.

The bodies of Sharp and Catalan were found two weeks later, about 75 miles south of Kananga.

10 Comments

  1. mkc

    please please please please kabila just step down we don’t like you but Moise pleeeeeaaaase

  2. CROSBY HAMOONGA

    let him go enough is enough.

  3. fteeman

    Kabila is a selfish and mentally deranged person.
    He shall leave peacefully, conduct free and fair elections and handover power to the elected president.
    Moise Katumbi might be the next president of DRC

  4. DANIEL K

    KABILA JUST STEP DOWN

  5. FGM

    In life, there comes a time when people say; ” Enough is Enough. ” Kabila should be very CAREFUL.

  6. BTK

    What is so much difficult about this Guy so could Kabila,Honestly,you mean Human Rights Departments and these Super Powers States can’t Jake the GUY HONESTLY,we need to be serious,Kabila deserves BIN LADEN flavor.

  7. Willy cabelero

    You know what’s you need to advise your Zambian président to advise Kabila to step down this is a crusial moment on DRC within 3 months you may see millions of refugee pooring in Zambia from Katanga because of this man who does not want to step down and who I think has the support of Zambia since last time he came to your country to speak to your official and make sure katumbi does not start a rebellion from chilabombwe in your contry

  8. chomz

    Kabila step down u’re not alone wilatwala mumbwe nenseko.we want Moise katumbi

  9. mulenga j kabanki

    Bamudala or bashikulu Bantu please just step down see how your pipo is suffering because of u sure Ba kabila wat is so difficult for u not to step down??????

  10. Dammiano

    Big man bakabila tafipwa kulowa just step down

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