Previous congressional resolutions and targeted sanctions helped lead to the peace agreement on December 31, 2016 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo). The agreement, between President Joseph Kabila’s government and opposition parties, called for elections to be held by the end of 2017, but unfortunately the terms have not been upheld.
President Kabila’s failure to state that he will not run for a third term has triggered political tension and violence. He has been in power since 2001, when his father, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated. President Kabila’s two-term limit expired in December 2016, but he has not yet stepped down or allowed elections to be held.
More people were displaced by conflict in the last year in DR Congo than in any other country. As MCC and Anabaptist agencies respond to humanitarian needs, MCC is also advocating for more humanitarian assistance for people who have been displaced by the violence and is asking the U.S. government to provide support for election logistics.
Restructuring at the State Department led the administration to propose terminating the Office of the Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region. This has been challenged by members of Congress from both parties. In the past, the Special Envoy played a key role in calling for transparent and credible elections.
More generally, the lack of long-term appointments for the Bureau of African Affairs at State has led to an uncertain U.S.-Africa policy. In the coming year the foreign affairs committees in Congress will need to play an important oversight role for restructuring at the State Department, as well as providing support for development and humanitarian assistance. –Charles Kwuelum
Your support will provide food, household items and shelter supplies to some of the 1.4 million people displaced by armed conflict in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A Congolese assessment team visited the Kasai region in July 2017 and found a severe lack of food and increasing malnutrition. Families had to leave their fields and animals when they fled the violence, and food that is available for purchase is very expensive.