African Union Urges ‘Peace’ as DR Congo Crisis Widens

The African Union has called on Democratic Republic of Congo leaders to preserve “peace and stability” as a crisis in the perennially restive nation’s shaky ruling coalition widened on Saturday, AFP reported.

President Felix Tshisekedi is due to unveil new decisions on December 6 on the simmering tensions pitting his supporters against those loyal to his powerful predecessor Joseph Kabila.

Tshisekedi took over from Kabila in January 2019, in the DRC’s first peaceful transition since independence from Belgium in 1960.

But his room for implementing much-trumpeted reforms was cramped by the need to forge a coalition with the pro-Kabila Common Front for the Congo (FCC), which has a crushing majority in parliament.

On Saturday, about 100 lawmakers and Tshisekedi supporters tried to file a petition seeking the resignation of the pro-Kabila speaker of the lower house but failed to do so as “all the offices were closed,” Leon Mubikayi, an MP said.

The petition was signed by over 250 MPs, he claimed. AFP was not able to independently verify this.

Alarmed by the rising tensions in a country wracked by conflict, the head of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahama called for peace after talks with both Tshisekedi and Kabila in Kinshasa this week.

He called on all “all political players to work resolutely and sincerely for national harmony and to preserve peace and stability”.

Kabila supporters number over 300 in the 500-seat legislature. Tensions surfaced publicly after Tshisekedi in July named three new justices to the top court, the Constitutional Council, overriding strong protests from the pro-Kabila camp.