New political deal could end conflict in DRC

A new deal that was reached in principle is regarded as an unexpected breakthrough after dozens died in anti-government protests this week raising fears that the DRC is headed towards another major conflict.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila attends the signing ceremony of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes, at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

A new deal has been agreed upon in principle by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) politicians which will allow President Joseph Kabila to stay in office until the end of 2017, opposition leaders said on Friday.

In return, the constitution cannot be changed to allow Kabila to remain in office for a third term.

A prime minister will be named from the main opposition bloc, and its leader, Etienne Tshisekedi, will oversee the implementation of the deal, said Martin Fayulu, leader of the opposition party ECDP.

"Kabila stays for one year. He will not try to stand for a new term."

The deal requires final approval by all the delegates at negotiations mediated by the DRC's Catholic Church.

Jean Marc Kabund, the secretary general of the DRC's largest opposition party, the UDPS, warned that the deal was not yet a sure thing.

"Today is the last day (of negotiations). It's make it or break it."

Kabila has remained in office since a presidential election scheduled for last month was postponed until at least April 2018 because of what the government said were delays in registering voters.

At least 34 people were killed during protests in the DRC this week.

Disparate clashes between ethnic militias have raised fears that the DRC is headed towards another major conflict.

Millions were killed in wars between 1996 and 2003.

Many in the capital Kinshasa said they were tired of the violence and hoped for a negotiated settlement. 

Reuters, TRTWorld and agencies