Democratic Republic of the Congo Culture

Democratic Republic of the Congo Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in DR Republic of Congo

According to A2ZGOV.COM, Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country located in Africa. The distribution of newspapers in the Congo is very limited (3 newspaper excl. Per 1,000 residents, 2000). There are seven newspapers, but the editions are small and no newspaper has national distribution. The most important are Elima and Salongo, both published in French in Kinshasa. The press is privately owned, but largely state-controlled and publishing can easily be stopped. From 1990, freedom of the press increased and the newspapers became more critical, but since the beginning of the civil war in 1996, the media have been forced to work with great caution.

La Voix du Congo, which broadcasts radio programs in French, Swahili and several bantu languages, has a relatively large spread, while the partly-financed television (Télévision Congolaise) reaches relatively few. Both are state and subject to strict scrutiny. There are 386 radio and 2 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ALLUNITCONVERTERS, Congo-Kinshasa has rich cultural traditions and several people’s groups are prominent in wood carving, crafts, sculpture, painting, music and dance.

In traditional music, harps, lutes, xylophones and especially drums are used. Popular music, soukous, mixes traditional rhythms and instruments with loans from other continents. Especially large influence during the colonial era had Cuban and other Latin American dance music. From the 1960s and later, Congolese music has borrowed a lot from Western rock. Soukous music developed at clubs in Kinshasa and spread throughout the world, especially since many of the most popular artists emigrated in the early 1990s. Among the biggest soukos artists are Sam Mangwana and his band African All Stars, Papa Wemba (who passed away in 2016) and the group Viva la Musica, singer Kanda Bongo Man and guitarist Diblo Dibala.

Staff Benda Bilili, a music group where most have physical disabilities and previously lived in shelters or on the street, has made international success after the first Très album was released in 2009. A documentary film about their veracity has been shown in cinemas around the world.

In the fall of 2011, the first feature film produced in the country in 25 years premiered: Viva Riva! directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga.

There is no older written literature, but a rich oral tradition of songs, fairy tales, myths and sayings. Modern fiction has developed rapidly and is usually written in lingual or French.



Huturebeller is handed over to Rwanda

Congo-Kinshasa surrenders 71 Hutu rebels and around 1,500 relatives to Rwanda. Those who are extradited belong to a group that broke out of the FDLR hutumilis, created in Congo-Kinshasa by Rwandan Hutu who moved there after the 1994 Rwanda genocide. South Kivu.

Nearly 700,000 flee in eastern Congo-Kinshasa

December 18

Doctors Without Borders expresses concern over the situation in eastern Congo-Kinshasa, where nearly 700,000 people have been forced to flee violence. During the first seven months of the year, the organization has treated over 11,000 children who suffered from malnutrition. At the same time, sexual violence continues to increase, especially in Nordkivu. At the beginning of the month, MSF temporarily withdrew its foreign personnel from the Biakato region after an armed group, probably a Mai Mai militia, tried to enter the organization’s territory.

Tshisekedi promises power against corruption

December 11

President Félix Tshisekedi promises to take action against corruption in the country, but without presenting many details. However, he says he is aware that there are major problems, and that corruption is channeled through large networks. This happens both in the EU and in the IMFand a number of domestic organizations expressed concern over the situation in the country following a report from the Congolese Financial Inspectorate. It mentions, among other things, Tshisekedi’s cabinet chief Vital Kamerhe in connection with the $ 15 million which has disappeared from the Ministry of Finance. Prosecutors announced in August that this would be investigated, but since then not much has happened. It is speculated in Congo-Kinshasa whether Kamerhe used the money to strengthen his own position ahead of the next presidential election in 2023. Tshisekedi has also previously made similar statements on the fight against corruption, without having any major consequences.

Congo-Kinshasa receives loans from the IMF

December 17

The IMF approves a loan to Congo-Kinshasa of just over $ 368 million for the government to be able to pay its expenses. The growth rate in the economy has slowed down in 2019, GDP is expected to grow by about 4.5 percent in 2019, compared with 5.8 percent in 2018.

10,000 families are moved from cobalt deposits

December 17

10,000 families are now being offered money to leave their homes in the city of Kasulo in Lualaba Province, which is located in a place rich in cobalt. 600 families have already moved. They have been offered compensation of between $ 1,500 and $ 10,000 per household. The cobalt deposits in the area are believed to be worth about $ 100 billion. Richard Muyej, governor of Lualaba, says that what is in the ground does not belong to any individual but the state.

Tech giants sued for child laborers death

December 16th

Several major international big companies, including Apple, Google, Tesla and Microsoft, are sued by the rights organization International Rights Advocates, which acts for 14 families whose children were killed or severely injured when working in cobalt mines in Congo-Kinshasa. According to International Rights Advocates, the companies have known that child laborers may have been used in the mines from which they buy cobalt. Cobalt is found in batteries used in electric cars, smart phones and laptops.

Over 30 dead in new attacks in Beni

December 15

At least 22 people are killed the night of December 15 in Ntombi in the Beni area of ​​eastern Congo-Kinshasa. The next day another act of violence takes place in Kamango in the same region. The Islamic ADF-Nalu guerrilla with roots in Uganda, is believed to have done the killing. According to local sources, the victims in Ntombi were peasants, and 13 of them were women who were hacked to death by the assailants. Just since the beginning of November, more than 100 people have been killed in similar acts in the area. The residents of Beni have repeatedly protested that the UN forces Monusco and the government army have done nothing to protect the civilian population.


27 dead in new massacres in Nordkivu

November 27th

At least 27 people have been killed in a new massacre in Beni areas in North Kivu. This time, too, the Islamist rebel movement ADF-Nalu is suspected to be behind the deed. This means that at least 107 people have been killed in the region since November 5.

ICC dismisses Bemba’s appeal

November 27th

The ICC rejects the appeal filed by former Vice President and Miles leader Jean-Pierre Bemba. Thus, the one-year prison sentence is set against him. He is convicted of bribing witnesses in the trial against him. However, he does not have to serve any punishment because of the time he has already spent in jail. Bemba was sentenced in 2016 for war crimes and crimes against humanity , but was released in June 2018 by the ICC Court of Appeal . The verdict means it will be difficult for Bemba to get involved in Congolese politics. For example, he was not allowed to participate in the presidential elections held at the end of 2018.

Concerns over Beni require dozens of lives

November 25

New acts of violence near Beni in North Kivu in the eastern part of the country are provoking protests from the city’s residents who accuse the UN and government forces of not doing enough to protect them. The protesters set fire to a UN facility and the City Hall on fire and urge the UN force Monsuco to leave the area as it still does not intervene in the violence. Seven people are killed in connection with this, and even more are injured, including three soldiers. The trigger was a night before eight civilian Congolese were killed. The Islamistthe rebel movement ADF-Nalu is suspected to be behind the deed. More than 60 civilians have been killed in the area around Beni in the month of November since the Congolese army launched its own offensive against ADF-Nalu. Representatives of Monsuco say it cannot participate in operations in a war zone without special permission for it. President Félix Tshisekedi responds by promising that the UN and the government army will carry out joint operations to protect civilians. Later, Monusco begins an investigation into what happened around the protests in Beni, when a UN soldier is suspected of shooting a protester. ADF-Nalu tos have killed over 1,000 civilians in Congo-Kinshasa since 2014.

Bosco Ntaganda is sentenced to 30 years in prison

November 7

Former rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, also called Terminator, whom the ICC sentenced for war crimes and crimes against humanity in July (see July 8, 2019). He is now sentenced to 30 years in prison for the assaults committed in Ituri in eastern Congo-Kinshasa in 2002 and 2003, when he was one of the leaders of the UCP militia and its military branch FPLC, and attacked all who did not belong to the home group. It is the longest sentence the ICC has issued so far and this is the first time the court has convicted anyone of sexual slavery. In 2013, he became the first person to voluntarily surrender to the ICC after defeating the rebel movement he belonged to then, M23.


Army announces offensive in eastern Congo-Kinshasa

October 31st

The Congolese government army announces an offensive against the many militia groups that are causing havoc in the eastern part of the country. A spokesman for the army, General Richard Kasonga, says the goal is to wipe out all these groups, both those who have roots in the country and those who have their origins in neighboring countries. The operation begins in Nordkivu, where among other things ADF-Nalu, originating in Uganda, has killed hundreds of people. Another group is FDLR, with Rwandan roots. Congo-Kinshasa, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania should have agreed earlier in October to act jointly against the groups. This has led the UN to make a statement that its forces in Congo-Kinshasa will not participate in any military operations carried out by neighboring countries. Leila Zerrougui, commander of the Monusco Peace Force,

New Ebola vaccine is introduced in Nordkivu

October 14

A new Ebola vaccine will be deployed in North Kivu in eastern Congo-Kinshasa in November. This is stated by Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the doctor who leads the national effort against the infectious viral disease. It is primarily the residents of some special areas in Nordkivu that are primarily to be vaccinated, as well as some of those who engage in small-scale trade with Rwanda and therefore regularly travel to neighboring countries. But if all goes well, the vaccination program should be extended to Sydkivu and Ituri. To date, at least 2,144 people have died in Ebola since the epidemic began in 2018.


55 are convicted of massacres in Ituri

September 29th

A military tribunal in Bunia sentenced 55 people to life imprisonment for their role in several massacres in the Djuguter Territory in eastern Ituri province 2017 and 2018 (see February , March and April 2018). They are convicted of crimes against humanity , murders, rapes, looting and for burning down entire villages. Among those convicted are a soldier, a police officer and a representative of the intelligence service, said a spokesman for the Congolese army. Seven people are acquitted.

A new Ebola vaccine is expected to receive a clear sign

September 23

WHO looks to introduce a second vaccine against the Ebola virus disease in Congo-Kinshasa. Previously, this was stopped because of opposition from Oly Ilunga, Minister of Health until this summer. He argued that it was not appropriate to introduce yet another vaccine among a population where distrust of government is strong.

Doctors Without Borders criticizes WHO

September 23

Doctors Without Borders accuses WHO of rationing vaccine against Ebola in Congo-Kinshasa, where at least 2,100 people have died in the infectious disease since summer 2018. To date, 225,000 people have been vaccinated, but that’s not enough to protect those who are in the risk zone for being infected. Doctors Without Borders say this happens despite knowing the vaccine is working. WHO denies that there is anything in the accusation but says that you do everything you can to stop the epidemic.

Democratic activists are arrested in Goma

September 21

36 Democratic activists from the Luar Movement are arrested in Goma in North Kivu in the eastern part of the country as they protest against Indian telecom company Airtel’s pricing policy and demand that it be able to activate its GPS function to assist in the search for kidnapping victims. They are accused of having made “insulting statements” against the company.

New attacks in Ituri

September 19

At least twelve people have been killed in three different attacks on refugee camps in Ituri in northeastern Congo-Kinshasa. The deaths can be more when at least four people are missing. Several buildings that house internal refugees are burnt down in connection with the death. Earlier in the week, 14 people were killed in connection with similar assaults and in the summer, 160 fatalities were claimed in the same area (see June 2019). A group called “Ngudjolo men” are often blamed for the attacks, but no one seems to know for sure who is behind them.

Hutumilis leader killed

September 17th

Warlord Sylvestre Mudacumura, one of the leaders of the FDLR hutumilis, is shot dead by Congolese soldiers in North Kivu in the eastern part of the country. The government in neighboring Rwanda describes the event as “good news for peace and security in the region”. Another four FDLR members are killed at the same time. Mudacumura was wanted by the ICC for suspected war crimes such as rape, torture and looting. FDLR was formed by Hutus who moved from Rwanda to the neighboring country after the 1994 genocide. Today, according to the UN, FDLR consists of between 500 and 600 active members.

Former Health Minister is accused of embezzlement

September 15th

Former Health Minister Oly Ilunga is arrested in Kinshasa and accused of embezzling the equivalent of just over $ 4 million in public funds. Money that would have been used to fight the Ebola epidemic in the eastern part of the country. Ilunga resigned as health minister in July after being denied responsibility for leading the effort against Ebola. In connection with his departure, Ilunga criticized the WHO’s decision to use a relatively unproven vaccine against Ebola.

New strike against journalists

September 3

Dozens of media companies, most in the provinces of Kasai and Equateur, have been forced to close in recent weeks because of attacks against journalists. It reports the Congolese press organization journalists in danger (JED) who say that journalists have been arrested and badly beaten.

Mukwege starts global fund to help rape victims

1 September

Doctor Denis Mukwege, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2018, for his work with rape victims at the Panziklinken in Congo-Kinshasa, announces that he will start a global fund to help people who have been subjected to sexual violence. He hopes, through this, to help spread the Panzi Hospital’s program to help victims of other conflict-affected countries such as Burundi, Central African Republic and Iraq.

The UN commander promises continued support for the military

1 September

UN Secretary-General António Guterres visits Congo-Kinshasa and promises continued UN support to the Congolese army, and that the UN force Monusco, which today consists of 16,000 men, will continue its cooperation with the country’s military and police. He also promises reinforcements in the Ebola-affected eastern part of the country. The UN effort cuts around a billion dollars a year and has been repeatedly criticized for lack of efficiency. Former President Joseph Kabila wanted the UN force to leave the country, while his successor Félix Tshisekedi wants to continue cooperation with the UN.


New government ready, dominated by Kabilatrogen ministers

August 26th

Congo-Kinshasa finally gets a new government, seven months after Félix Tshisekedi took office as president. As previously announced, there will be a coalition government where two-thirds of the seats (42) go to people with ties to former President Joseph Kabila, while Tshisekedi’s alliance gets 23 ministerial posts. Most of the ministers lack experience in government work. New finance minister becomes Sele Yalaghuli, former head of the Congolese tax office, from Kabila’s camp. Defense Minister becomes Ngoy Mukena, who stands close to Kabila and becomes Deputy Prime Minister Marie Tumba Nzeza and responsibility for the mines goes to Willy Samsoni, who also belongs to the Kabila loyalists. Marie Tumba Nzeza, from the presidential party UDPS, becomes new foreign minister and Gilbert Kankonde, from the same party, becomes new interior minister. 13 of the ministers are women.decree . The process has dragged on when Tshisekedi on August 14 first rejected the Prime Minister’s proposal for a new government and then asked for it to be changed further.


FCC and Cach form government

July 26

Half a year after Félix Tshisekedi’s victory in the presidential election (see December 2018), the two political opposition camps FCC and Cach merge into a pact to form a joint government. Government formation has dragged on over time because defeated President Joseph Kabila’s FCC party won clear majorities in both chambers of Parliament. Now, the FCC is entering into a government collaboration with Thisekedi Cach. Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba will remain in office and lead a government with 65 members: 42 from the FCC and 23 from Cach.

WHO announces international crisis situation due to Ebola

July 17

After the first Ebola incident has now been reported from the big city of Goma in Nordkivu, the WHO decides to announce an “international crisis situation”. The hope is, among other things, that it will get major donor countries to donate more money for efforts against the Ebola epidemic in Congo-Kinshasa. However, the WHO emphasizes that the disease is not a threat in the region at a global level, and that no boundaries need to be closed or trade must be restricted. So far, nearly 1,700 people have died as a result of the disease since the summer of 2018. A new Ebola case has also been reported in Uganda, where close to 600 people have been searching for who have been in contact with the affected woman.

The first ebola case is discovered in Goma

July 15

The first case of the viral disease ebola has now been discovered in Goma in Nordkivu in the eastern part of the country. The infected is a pastor who had visited Ebola-infected people in the town of Butembo, some 20 miles north of Goma. and who got sick during the bus ride home. The authorities are reducing the risks of getting the disease fixed in the city, which has over a million residents. Since the outbreak began in the summer of 2018, almost 2,500 people have been infected by more than 1 600 have died as a result of the disease.

Bosco Ntaganda is convicted of war crimes

July 8

The ICC blames rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, also called Terminator, for war crimes and crimes against humanity . The conviction involves 18 charges including murder, rape, sexual slavery and the recruitment of child soldiers, crimes that must have been committed in 2002 and 2003 when he was leader of the UPC militia in Ituri, eastern Congo. He later joined another rebel group M23, which dropped its weapons in 2013. The penalty will be announced at a later date. Ntaganda defense lawyers argue that the former rebel leader should also be seen as a victim when he himself was recruited as a soldier when he was a child. He is now the fourth person to be dropped by the ICC.

Tshisekedi commands offensive against militia groups in the east

July 2

President Félix Tshisekedi commands an offensive against armed militia groups in the mineral-rich eastern part of Congo-Kinshasa. He promises to put an end to the lawlessness prevailing in this part of the country.


New acts of violence force 300,000 to flee in Ituri

June 18

The new violent conflicts that have flared up between the Indigenous people and the people of Ituri have forced about 300,000 people to flee so far in June. About 160 people are reported to have been killed in recent fighting. Exactly what triggered the unrest is not known, but the violence is said to make it difficult to fight the ongoing Ebola epidemic in the country.

Prosecution of Colonel for murder of UN experts 2017

17th of June

Colonel Jean de Dieu Mambweni is indicted by a military court for the murders of Swedish-Chilean UN expert Zaida Catalán and a US UN employee, Michael Sharp in March 2017. Catalán and Sharp were murdered in Kasai where they had traveled to investigate abuses that should have committed in connection with the Kamwina Nsapu militia uprising. The charge against Mambweni applies to both murder and war crimes. He was responsible for the military’s contacts with civilians in the area when the murder took place. According to prosecutors, Mambweni had been in contact with one of the suspects who had committed the murders on the day they happened. According to a UN investigation, there are suspicions that government forces have been involved in the murder.

At least 50 dead in fighting in Ituri

June 13th

At least 50 people are reported to have been killed in violence in eastern Ituri province. It is not entirely clear what caused the fighting, but they take place in an area where tensions between the homeland and Lendu people demanded tens of thousands of lives between 1999 and 2003. Many also argue that the number of casualties is higher than 50. Many people have also been forced to on the run from the unrest. At the same time, work is underway to fight the Ebola epidemic in Ituri and the neighboring province of Nordkivu.

Measles epidemic is believed to have claimed 1,500 lives

June 11

About 1,500 people have been feared to have died from measles in Congo-Kinshasa since the turn of the year, according to health authorities and Doctors Without Borders calculations. During the same period, 87,000 people must have been infected by the measles. Disease cases have been reported from 23 of the country’s 26 provinces. In April, over two million children were vaccinated and a new vaccination campaign will be launched within the next few days.


Étienne Tshisekedi’s remnants are sent home

30 May

The remnants of former opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi, father of the current president, have now been sent to his home country. Étienne Tshisekedi died in Belgium 2017, at the age of 84. Thousands of people gather in the streets, many of them in white clothes as a symbol of the former opposition politician being free from corruption. Rwanda President Paul Kagame and his Angola colleague João Lourenço and Denis Sassou Nguesso, from Congo Brazzaville, now come to Kinshasa to attend the ceremonies to be held in honor of Étienne Tshisekedi. A fair is held at the Martyr Stadium in Kinshasa. However, the arena, which can accommodate 80,000 spectators, is far from crowded. He is buried on June 2 in Nsele on the outskirts of Kinshasa.

Ilunga Ilunkamba becomes new prime minister

May 20

President Félix Tshisekedi appoints a political veteran 78-year-old Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba as new Prime Minister. This is done after an agreement between Tshisekedi and his representative Joseph Kabila.

Katumbi returns home

May 20

Opposition politician Moïse Katumbi returns to his home country after three years of self-imposed exile. Katumbi, who is a successful businessman, was previously a popular governor of Katanga. He was barred from taking part in the 2018 presidential election. He now flies home on a private aircraft and is met by supporters dressed in white gathered along the route between the Lubumbashi airport , which now forms part of Haut-Katanga province.

100 days without government

May 3

Over 100 days have passed since Félix Tshisekedi took office as president, but the country still lacks government and prime minister. In addition to the release of political prisoners, the new president has launched a crisis program to improve roads, energy supply, education, transport and health care. The most visible result so far is a series of road works around the capital Kinshasa.

Over a thousand dead in Ebola

May 3

More than 1,000 people have now died in the Ebola epidemic in the eastern part of the country. The World Health Organization WHO is now saying that vaccination trials against the infectious viral disease should be extended with a new drug. So far, 109,000 people have been vaccinated. The work to combat the epidemic in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces is made more difficult by security concerns and general distrust of the authorities.


The judgment against Katumbi is set aside

April 19

Court of Appeal in Congo-Kinshasa cancels three-year prison sentence against opposition politician Moïse Katumbi. The judgment applies to “cheating in real estate transactions”. This means that Katumbi can return to his home country, which he also does in early May. Katumbi had intended to run in the 2018 presidential election, but was prevented from doing so when he became an Italian citizen, as Congo-Kinshasa does not allow a person to have dual citizenship.

Suspected war criminal dies in Germany

April 17

Ignace Murwanashyaka, former leader of the FDLR hutumilis, is dying in Germany, pending the retrial against him for serious war crimes. He was sentenced in 2015 for the offenses committed by the FDLR, which he led from Germany, in Nordkivu in 2008 and 2009. But 2018 it was decided that the trial would be reversed because of legal mistakes that spoke in his favor and those who opposed him. However, parts of the previous conviction against him were firm.

Success for Kabilas FCC in the governorship election

April 10

Former President Joseph Kabila and his alliance Congo’s Common Front (FCC) are strengthening their power in the governorship election. According to preliminary results, the FCC has won 16 of the 22 governing positions at stake. The winners include former president’s brother Zoé Kabila, who will be the new governor of Tanganyika Province. FCC also wins in Kinshasa where Gentiny Ngobila takes over. At the same time, the process of forming government is dragging on time, according to analysts likely because President Félix Tshisekedi rejected Kila’s candidate for the post of Albert Yuma. At the same time, Vital Kamerhe expects a high post as a reward for supporting Tshisekedi in the presidential election. Of the two, Kamerhe is also the one with the greatest political experience.

Deferred elections are held in Nordkivu and Mai-Ndombe

April 9

When the National Assembly election is finally held in Beni and Butembo in North Kivu, according to preliminary figures, they appear to be a success for supporters of Martin Fayulu, the candidate who multiple sources points out as the rightful winner in the December presidential election, which gets 10 of the 14 mandates that are at stake. Three mandates go to Kabila’s camp and one to President Félix Tshisekedis. Elections are also held in Yumbi in Mai-Ndombe province, where a candidate from the Kabila camp wins. The results are of no great significance as the Kabilas Congo Common Front (FCC) already has an overwhelming majority of seats in the National Assembly. In Nordkivu Beni and Butembo, elections were postponed in December due to the Ebola epidemic in the area, and in Yumbi due to ethnic conflicts (seeDecember 2018).

3,000 Congolese are expelled from Angola

April 5

Over 3,000 Congolese have been expelled from Angola in recent days. Among those forced to leave Angola are pregnant women, children and the sick with few assets. They arrive at the Congolese border town of Kahemba in western Kwango province. In the fall of 2018, Angolan authorities claimed that 380,000 migrants, who were not allowed to reside in Angola, voluntarily left the country in connection with an operation against illegal diamond mining. The Kinshasa government accused Angola of having driven them away with brutal methods and that several deaths had occurred (see October 2018).


Monusco’s mandate is extended

March 29th

The UN Security Council extends the mandate of the Monusco Peace Force to December 20 this year. At the same time, it is decided that a review of the assignment will be done in October, but any reductions have already been mentioned. The effort that has now been going on for 20 years is the most expensive UN, costing $ 1 billion a year. Former President Joseph Kabila has wanted Monuso to leave the country, while the new president has promised to cooperate with the UN force. The latter also wants to reduce the number of soldiers, but that those who are good should be better educated and equipped and more willing to fight with the rebel groups.

Tshisekedi calls for corruption after Senate elections

March 18th

President Félix Tshisekedi refuses to swear in the senators elected by the provincial assemblies on March 15. He is requesting an investigation into whether corruption has affected the election result. Members of the presidential party UDPS have protested against how the election was conducted and that at least 20 candidates from a variety of parties have withdrawn from the election after being asked to pay bribes of $ 10,000 in exchange for votes. In protest of the election, protesters attacked several party premises belonging to the former FCC government alliance. At least one person was killed in connection with this. For the time being, even the governorship elections that would have been held on March 26 are set. It is the same provincial assemblies that are now being accused of irregularities who will appoint the new governors.

Kabila’s alliance wins the Senate election

March 15th

Candidates from former president Joseph Kabila’s party alliance FCC win 84 out of 100 seats in the Senate (another source lists 80 seats, and three seats went to the UDPS and allied parties). The senators are appointed by 24 of the country’s 26 provincial assemblies (in two of them, the election was canceled in December, see December 2018). As former president, Kabila automatically becomes a member of the Senate.

Elections will be held in Mai-Ndombe on March 31

Authorities announce that elections in Yumbi City and neighboring districts in southwestern Mai-Ndombe Province, which were suspended due to ethnic violence (see December 2018), will be held on March 31.

The president pardons 700 political prisoners

14th of March

President Félix Tshisekedi pardons 700 political prisoners imprisoned during Joseph Kabila’s time in power. Thus, he fulfills his election promise that they would be released during his first 100 days in power.

UN: May massacres in May-Ndombe may be crimes against humanity

the 12th of March

In a new report, the UN criticizes Congolese authorities for not doing more to prevent the ethnic conflicts that flared up in May-Ndombe province in 2018 and claimed at least 535 lives (see December 2018). According to the UN, there were clear signs that tensions between the batende and banunu people were rapidly deteriorating. The police must have withdrawn from the area before the massacre began. The UN Human Rights Commissioner states that the severe abuses that occurred then could be a matter of crimes against humanity. The violence must also have been extreme and planned in advance. People were burned alive and a toddler must have been thrown into a sewage tank. Nearly 1,000 buildings were also destroyed, including schools, churches and health care facilities. Of the victims identified, 530 belonged to the Banunu people, while only five were abusers.

Bemba claims damages from the ICC

11th of March

Former Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was acquitted by the ICC in 2018 , intends to claim over $ 76 million in damages from the court, which he accuses him of being imprisoned for ten years, costs for attorneys fees and the losses he incurred of the ICC’s mismanagement of his assets. The assets in question are seven aircraft, three villas in Portugal, three land areas in Congo-Kinshasa and two boats. Bemba’s legal representative says that if the damages are granted, part of the money will go to help victims of the violence in the Central African Republic. the damages demanded by Bemba correspond to half the ICC’s annual budget.

MSF: militarization makes work against Ebola difficult

March 7

Efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo-Kinshasa are not working, and the government forces’ efforts to force people to follow the guidelines for house disease should be combated, countering its purpose, as it hastens the work by reinforcing an already strong distrust of the authorities. This is the opinion of MSF, which states that the fact that more than 40 percent of all deaths occur outside a healthcare facility. According to the Congolese Ministry of Health, denies that security forces interfered in the way MSF claims, stressing that the organization demanded that security around their health care facilities be strengthened in order to continue their work. So far, 569 people have died in the disease. At the same time, healthcare personnel are increasingly becoming a target for the violence.

Ready for government cooperation between Tshisekedi and Kabila

March 7

President Félix Tshisekedi and his representative Joseph Kabila conclude an agreement on government cooperation. However, nothing is said about who will be the head of government. Tshisekedi has previously expressed frustration at not being able to elect the person he wants to be Prime Minister, as Kabila’s party alliance FCC dominates the National Assembly. For now, Alexis Thambwe Mwamba is acting prime minister. The day before, Martin Fayulu, who is widely considered to have won the presidential election, that he will not take his place in the National Assembly. He emphasizes that he has been elected president and therefore it is not possible for him to just sit as a member of parliament.

Tshisekedi: “political prisoners to be released”

March 2

President Félix Tshisekedi promises that the country’s political prisoners will be released within 10 days. He makes the promise while presenting his “crisis program” for the first 100 days in power. Tshisekedi also opens up for politicians in exile to be able to return to their homeland.


70 ex-rebels return from Uganda

February 26th

Some 70 former M23 rebels and their families return to their homeland from Uganda. This means that 316 M23 members have now been repatriated, but there are still hundreds of ex-rebels left in Uganda, where they fled in 2013.

No US visa for senior election executives

February 22

US authorities announce that the head of Election Commission Corneille Nangaa, Constitutional Court Chief Justice Benoit Lwamba Bindu, and National Assembly President Aubin Minaku Ndjalandjoko will not be granted a visa to the United States. Measures are also being taken against several military and government officials.

FCC parties promise to be loyal to Kabila

February 20th

The leaders of the 18 parties that form part of the Kabila Alliance Congo’s Common Front (FCC) meet at the former president’s court in Kingakati outside Kinshasa. They agreed to support a program on seven points. The first point was about a promise to be loyal to the ex-president.

Stop for relief efforts in eastern Congo-Kinshasa

February 18

Doctors Without Borders interrupts much of its relief work in an area of ​​eastern Congo-Kinshasa after two of the organization’s local staff were kidnapped on February 8. Abductions of foreign nationals and Congolese working for aid organizations are quite common in this part of the country.

Tshisekedi for talks with Kabila on coalition government

February 17th

Talks start between President Félix Tshisekedi and his representative at the post of Kabila Kabila about forming a coalition government. For now, the Prime Minister’s post is vacant.

Fayulu wants a new election in six months

February 11

Martin Fayulu, who according to the official result came second in the December presidential election, writes in a letter to the African Union (AU) that he believes the election should be redone within six months. He claims in his letter that Election Commission Ceni fabricated the election result.


Catholic CLC abstains from protests against the election

30th of January

The CLC (Laïc de Coordination Committee), a lay organization within the Congo-Kinshasa Catholic Church, says it will not call for new protests against the presidential election. CLC has played an important role in previous protests against President Kabila.

Militia leaders in Kasai put down their weapons

January 29th

Three militia leaders from Kamuina Nsapu (sometimes spelled Kamwina Nsapu) in the Kasao area surrender to the authorities in a gesture in support of new President Félix Tshisekedi. One of them, Lokondo Luakatebua, is accused, according to a local relief organization, of a 2017 operation in which 39 policemen were beheaded. Earlier in the month, 600 militants in the same area laid down their weapons and said they had ended their uprising.

The new National Assembly is assembled

January 28

The new National Assembly is assembled for the first time after the December 2018 elections, and begins work on establishing a provisional government. Félix Tshisekedi’s UPDS party has only about 10 percent of the seats in the National Assembly, which means that the new president has only a very limited room for maneuver.

50 mass graves are found in Mai-Ndombe Province

January 26

50 mass graves have been found in Yumbi Mai-Ndombe Province in the western part of the country. This is reported by UNJHRO, which brings together the UN peacekeeping mission’s human rights group and the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s office in Congo-Kinshasa. It is unclear how many people are buried in each grave, but it is probably about 100 dead. The military in the area promises an investigation into what has happened. Earlier in January, the UN said that about 890 people were killed during three days of ethnic strife between the batende and banunu people in the area.

Tshisekedi takes over as president

January 24th

Félix Tshisekedi takes over as president. At a ceremony in the presidential palace, he says he will work to create reconciliation in the country, to create a strong and secure Congo where everyone “has a place”. He also promises a plan to release all political prisoners and a ban on all forms of discrimination. Only a single foreign head of state is present at the ceremony, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. A few days earlier, both the EU and the US and AU have signaled that they will cooperate with Congo-Kinshasa, despite the uncertainties surrounding the election. Russia, on the other hand, has applauded the choice of Tshisekedi. Russia, along with China and South Africa, has also prevented the UN from taking any action against Congo-Kinshasa because of the election. Russia has even tried, in the 1990s, to approach Tshisekedi.

The Constitutional Court dismisses Fayulus’ appeal

January 20th

The Constitutional Court rejects opposition candidate Martin Fayulus’s appeal of the presidential election, thus stating that Félix Tshisekedi has won. South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa and Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta congratulate Tshisekedi on the victory. He is expected to take up the post at the end of January. The South African Cooperation Organization (SADC) urges the Congolese to accept the result and ensure that a peaceful change of power can be implemented. The AU would have sent a delegation to the country, but will suspend it until further notice. Faylulu urges its supporters to organize peaceful protests against how the election was conducted.

AU urges Ceni to wait with the end result

January 17

Representatives of the African Union (AU) urge the Ceni Election Authority to postpone its presentation of the final election results due to concern that it will not be accurate. According to the British newspaper Financial Times, which has access to data corresponding to 86 percent of all votes, Martin Fayulu has received over 59 percent of the vote. The newspaper also writes that the votes collected manually by the Catholic Church show that Fayulu received almost 63 percent of the vote. According to the Financial Times, the results that come from the election machines and those that the church has collected agree.

Nearly 900 dead in ethnic violence in Mai-Ndombe

January 16

890 people were killed in the conflicts between the batendeu and banunu people in Mai-Ndombe province in the western part of the country at the end of 2018, according to a report by the UN Human Rights Commissioner (see also December 2018). 435 buildings, homes, schools, health centers and the electoral office were burnt down. Initially, 82 people were killed in four different villages. The violence led to the election being canceled in the area. According to recent information, the unrest was triggered by the fact that a traditional leader of the Banuni people had been buried on December 13 on land belonging to the baton people.

Minister: Kabila faithful parties won the parliamentary elections

January 12

Parties loyal to outgoing President Joseph Kabila have won 350 of the 500 seats in the National Assembly. This is stated by Minister of Communications Lambert Mende. According to him, the opposition parties have received 130 seats. Police intervene to disperse about 100 Fayula supporters gathered outside the Constitutional Court’s premises. Reports also say that 120 of the opposition politician’s supporters have been arrested in the city of Kasenga in the south-east, and that Faylua and Tshisékédian supporters have collapsed in the mining town of Kolwezi, several people are reported to have been injured. Later, the figures are modeled and show that Congo’s Common Front (FCC) received 337 seats, while opposition Lamuka and On the Road to Change (Cach) received 102 and 46 seats respectively.

Fayulu appeals the election results

January 11

The Catholic Church says that the preliminary election results presented by Election Commission Ceni do not match the information their observers collected at the polling stations. Cenco, representing the country’s Catholic bishops, had 40,000 observers monitoring the election. According to a French diplomat, it was instead the second election of Martin Fayulu who had won. Later in the day, Fayulu appeals the election results to the Constitutional Court and calls on it to annul it. Fayulu claims he received 61 percent of the vote. A few days later, the South African cooperation organization SADC calls on the parties to form a unity government, but also to recount all votes.

Few foreign leaders congratulate Tshisekedi for the election victory

January 11

Many foreign leaders such as UN Secretary-General Anónio Guterres and AU chief Moussa Faki Mahamat choose not to congratulate opposition leader Félix Tshisekedi for victory in the presidential election and urge the parties not to resort to violence. The United States calls for clarification on the election, while South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa calls on all parties to stop speculating on the outcome and to allow the Election Commission to continue its work. The United States demands some clarification while congratulating the “brave Congolese voters”.

Tshisekedi wins the presidential election, but the result is questioned

January 10

The Election Commission announces that, according to preliminary results, UDPS leader Félix Tshisekedi has won the presidential election by almost 39 percent of the vote (7 million votes), a few percentage points more than another opposition candidate Martin Fayulu who landed at nearly 35 percent, while the government alliance candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary in third place with just under 24 percent. The turnout is estimated at 48 percent. Following the message, TTshisekedi speaks to his party mates, saying that incumbent President Joseph Kabila should no longer be seen as “an opponent but a partner in the work to change the country in a democratic direction”. He also promises to be president of “all Congolese”. At the same time, there are rumors that Tshisekedi and Kabila have signed a secret agreement. Fayulu, who had led in all opinion polls, questioned the result and called it a “ballot”. France and Belgium also express doubts about the result. In the information collected by the Catholic Church, Fayulu has received the most votes. Concerns are still high that the result will cause unrest, and security has been strengthened, especially in the Kinshasa area. The United States has sent troops to neighboring Gabon in case they need to be deployed to protect US citizens. Read more about Tshisekedi The United States has sent troops to neighboring Gabon in case they need to be deployed to protect US citizens. Read more about Tshisekedi The United States has sent troops to neighboring Gabon in case they need to be deployed to protect US citizens. Read more about Tshisekedihere .

Ten civilians are killed in fear of village in Nordkivu

January 8

Ten people are killed in an armed raid on the village of Mavivi, north of Beni in North Kivu. The victims were relatives of soldiers, and five of the ten were children. It is unclear who is behind the act, but the Islamist ADF-Nalu guerrilla is active in the area.

The Catholic Church “knows who won the election”

January 3rd

Election Commission Ceni announces that it may, due to logistical problems, postpone the publication of a preliminary election result. A few hours later, the Catholic Church claims it knows who has won the election and calls on Ceni to say “the truth.” The United States is also pressing and demanding that the election results be made public and threaten with sanctions if this does not happen. The United States also calls on Congolese authorities to lift restrictions on the Internet. Both the EU and the AU underline the importance of respect for the will of the people.

Democratic Republic of the Congo Culture

About the author