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Updated Apr 16, 2020

 

FelixTshisekedi
President Félix Tshisekedi (Ludovi Marin / AFP)

 

DRC state of emergency highlights divisions in the ruling coalition

The Constitutional Court of the Democratic Republic of the Congo confirmed the legality of President Félix Tshisekedi’s state of emergency declaration on Monday, April 13, resolving a dispute between supporters of the president and those who were demanding a legislative convention to formally ratify the presidential decree, issued on March 24.

The standoff reflects rifts that have emerged in the ruling coalition, formed between Tshisekedi’s CACH and that of the FCC, the party of former president Joseph Kabila. Several members of the FCC, including senate president Alexis Thambwe Mwamba, have not been subtle about their belief that the state of emergency is a means for Tshisekedi to grant himself “full powers”.

 

In this photograph taken on March 13, 2020, Moroccan soldiers from the UN mission in DRC (Monusco) ride in a vehicle as they patrol in the violence-torn Djugu territory, Ituri province, eastern DRCongo. Fresh violences have been registered against civilians in this territory where more than 700 hundreds have been slaughtered since December 2017, leading the UN to denounce a possible crime against humanity. SAMIR TOUNSI / AFP
Moroccan soldiers from the the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) on patrol in the territory of Djugu, Ituri, eastern DRC, on March 13, 2020. (Samir Tounsi / AFP)

 

Their fears are not completely without merit

Late in February, Tshisekedi suspended General Delphin Kahimbi, a Kabila ally, from his post as head of the nation’s military intelligence on suspicion the general attempted to destabilize the country. He was found dead a week later. The cause of his death is said to be suicide, but rumors of foul play abound. More recently, Tshisekedi’s chief of staff Vital Kamerhe, head of the UNC party, was arrested for embezzlement, a charge Kamerhe denies.

These developments could suggest efforts by Tshisekedi to keep his coalition in check and to distance himself from his predecessor Joseph Kabila, whose party holds a majority in the DRC’s legislature and who has the nearly 10,000-strong Republican Guard behind him.

 

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