kodjoEdem Kodjo, African Union appointed Facilitator of the political dialogue in the DRC, announced on 30 August 2016 that the “stage is indeed set” for the forum to begin on 1 September 2016 and ends two weeks later.

Preparatory works were finalised on 27 August 2016 produced a roadmap outlining amongst other things the objectives of the dialogue and its terms of reference. The venue of the dialogue is the Cité de l’Union Africaine.

Kodjo expressed hope “the dialogue will draw the same interest that the preparatory works, which proved to be a success”.

In terms of inclusiveness however, the forum with certain political stakeholders and parties from the opposition boycotting it. Veteran opposition Etienne Tshisekedi rejected the facilitator and demanded that a number of prerequisites be met, including the release of all political prisoners and appointment of a new mediator, before joining the dialogue.

Commenting on the boycott, Kodjo said “if Tshisekedi’s party absolutely refuses to participate, we will go ahead with those who want to, and whose number is continuously increasing”.

With attendance quotas, the Forces Vives civil society coalition demanded that the 39 delegates quota set by the roadmap should be increased. The regime and the opposition will be, each, represented by 68 delegates.

In a memo addressed on 30 August 2016 to President Kabila, the Forces urged the head of state to take all the necessary measures “to make the dialogue more inclusive”.