- The demonstrators allege that Malonda is close to the nation’s former president, Joseph Kabila.
- The violence led to the deaths of two protesters and one police officer.
- On June 24th, the country was treated to another round of protests.
Three people are dead in protests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo over the appointment of Ronsard Malonda as the head of the nation’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI). The decision was already passed by the National Assembly last week, and it is awaiting the president’s signature.
The demonstrators, mainly made of supporters of President Felix Tshisekedi and pro-democracy activists, allege that Malonda is close to the nation’s former president, Joseph Kabila. He still wields a lot of power, owing to the fact that Kabila’s party enjoys a parliamentary majority in the country, as well as most of the government ministers, and a section of the army.
According to the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO), police responded to the protests by firing tear gas at the protesters. Most of the clashes were witnessed on the streets of the cities of Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Goma. UNJHRO said it was seriously concerned about the use of excessive force by the police. The violence led to the deaths of two protesters and one police officer.
The Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party, led by Tshisekedi, is currently in a shaky coalition with forces close to Kabila. Only a third of government ministers come from the UDPS.
In Kinshasa, the crowd demolished part of a building belonging to Kabila’s party, the Common Front for the Congo (FCC). “They want to make Mr Malonda the head of CENI to block us in the elections of 2023,” said Hague Mata, a UDPS supporter.
The opposition Lamuka alliance also accused Malonda, who for many years worked at CENI in senior positions, of “being an agent” of the FCC and of helping him maintain control over the government through “electoral robbery” of 2018. In a tweet, the FCC denied had anything to do with Malonda’s appointment. Instead, they said that his appointment was a responsibility of the civil society and religious organizations.
On June 24th, the country was treated to another round of protests when several demonstrators took to the streets to contest the proposals to modify the nations’s judiciary. The reforms contested by the demonstrators include a series of proposals to define the powers of judges. Critics believed it is a ploy to put the muzzle to the judiciary.
The proposals came from the FCC, which remains a force behind the scenes of national politics. FCC chief Nehemie Mwilanya has called for calm, sternly warning the ”trouble makers.” Mwilanya then referred to the “inaction” of the interior minister, who comes from the UDPS, and threw salvos at him without mentioning his name.
The former President of Parliament, Aubin Minaku, one of the figures behind the proposed amendments, said that “the goal of the reform is to define the authority that the Ministry of Justice has over the judges.”
The UDPS, however, believes that it is a ploy to undermine the independence of the judiciary and increase the power of the Ministry of Justice. The Lamuka coalition, for its part, stressed that the proposals “deal a fatal blow to the concept of separation of powers.”