One Dead, Several Arrested in DRC Protests

  • Thousands of people protested against the endorsement of Ronsard Malonda as the new president of the independent national electoral commission.
  • Protesters suspect Malonda of being close to the FCC coalition of former President Joseph Kabila.
  • The police accused them of disturbing public order for having violated the measure of the authorities prohibiting any demonstration during this period of a health emergency.

Several cities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were in turmoil on Thursday, responding to the call to protest launched by the UDPS of President Félix Tshisekedi. At least one person was killed in the capital, Kinshasa, and three others suffered gunshot wounds in the UDPS stronghold of Kananga.

The Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) is one of the major contemporary political parties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The incumbent party leader is Félix Tshisekedi, son of Étienne, who is the president of the DRC.

Thousands of people took to the streets on Thursday to protest against the endorsement of Ronsard Malonda as the new president of the independent national electoral commission by the National Assembly. Several other protesters were arrested across the country.

Protesters suspect Malonda of being close to the FCC coalition of former President Joseph Kabila. Still, according to them, Malonda could lack impartiality in the next elections of 2023.

The electoral law in the DRC provides that religious denominations propose, on the basis of consensus, a person to head the electoral commission. Then, the National Assembly must validate the proposal before official confirmation.

But this time, the Cenco, (National Episcopal Conference of the Congo) influential organ of the Catholic Church, criticized the choice of Ronsard Malonda, claiming that his appointment did not respect the normal procedure.

Opposition political parties and citizen movements have promised new mass mobilizations next week. These arrested activists are part of a group of demonstrators who managed to bypass the security system until they reached the town hall, when elements of the police had just prevented others in the city center from demonstrating.

The police accused them of disturbing public order for having violated the measure of the authorities prohibiting any demonstration during this period of a health emergency.

Police Use Tear Gast in Lubumbashi

The Common Front for Congo (FCC) is a parliamentary group in the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that includes the ruling party, the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy, among other parties. It is closely aligned with the former President of DR Congo from 2001 to 2019, Joseph Kabila, who formed it in mid 2018 to organise political forces for the December 2018 general election.

A hundred activists from the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) trying to head to downtown Lubumbashi were dispersed on the Munama road, near Major Vangu camp. The police tried to persuade the protesters not to go to the city center, but were forced to use tear gas to disperse them.

The demonstrators chanted songs hostile to the nomination of Malonda. They demanded the involvement of President Tshisekedi not to invest him as a replacement for Corneille Nangaa at the head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

“We say no to Mr. Ronsard Malonda because he is the product of the system, Ronsard is Nangaa. He is the product of Kabila. This is why we expect good elections in 2023, we say no to Ronsard Malonda,” one of the protesters on the Munama road in Lubumbashi told reporters.

They came from the communes of Kenya, Katuba, and some of Matshipisha to force the passage towards the city center of Lubumbashi. However, entrances to downtown Lubumbashi are blocked by elements of the Congolese national police, supported by soldiers.

These demonstrations come at a time when the cities of Lubumbashi, Kasumbalesa, Likasi, and the mining town of Kipushi entered total confinement for three days for health reasons. The situation remains tense in several corners of the city of Lubumbashi.

Also, the young people of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), accompanied by those of the National Union of Congolese Federalists (UNAFEC), took to the streets on Thursday,  to respond to the call launched by their hierarchy.

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George Mtimba

George clarifies how the news is changing the world, how world news trends affect you. Also, George is a professional journalist, a freelance news reporter and writer who is passionate with current world news.

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