Today, opposition leaders will hold an anti-government rally in Kinshasa.
Jean-Pierre Bemba and Moise Katumbi, both key opposition leaders that have been ruled ineligible to run in the December 23 election, will be in attendance. Bemba, the former vice president, has been denied because of his recent conviction of bribery by the International Criminal Court. Katumbi had been barred from entering the country to register as a candidate by the August 8 deadline.
In August, President Joseph Kabila announced that he would not seek reelection, per the DRC’s constitutionally-mandated two-term limit. Since, he has endorsed the candidacy of Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary of the Common Front for Congo, someone many view as a puppet that will allow the president to continue to exert influence over the country after he has left office.
Whether or not violence breaks out in December depends largely on the perceived legitimacy of the election; as of August, 62% of respondents polled said they do not trust that the vote will be free and fair, a reality that does not bode well for internal stability. In the meantime, expect opposition protests to intensify and, in turn, be met with more extreme government crackdowns.
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Max is Foreign Brief's Chief Executive Officer. A Latin America specialist, Max is an expert in regional political and economic trends, focusing particularly on the Southern Cone.