Kinshasa and some other major cities of the DRC heeded the opposition call for a general strike on 23 August 2016 in protest against the start of the preparatory works for dialogue that is meant to resolve the political crisis in the country.

Most of Kinshasa was not bustling with life in the morning as is the case every morning. Being largely an opposition strong-hold, the Kinois as the Kinshasa inhabitants are known, heeded the opposition call and stayed home. Most businesses in city centre and other suburbs remained closed for the better part of the morning.

In certain government Ministries, such as the Ministry of Justice, civil servants were busy    at their desks, while the Foreign Ministry ground to a halt.

The strike was also observed in other parts of the country such as Goma in eastern DRC and partially in Bandundu.

The pictures   bellow provide a snapshot of the reduced pace of life in Kinshasa throughout the day.

Kinshasa Main Boulevard at 8 o’clock: stark contrast with the usual traffic
Kinshasa Main Boulevard at 8 o’clock: stark contrast with the usual traffic

In the city centre rush hour seemed lighter than usual, and in the surrounding suburbs, especially opposition strongholds such as Limete, many Congolese stayed at home and shops were boarded up. There were no reports so far of any impact in the mining sector, where foreign firms have big investments.
The government opened a round of talks on Tuesday on the timetable for elections that were due to be held in November but will be delayed because nothing is ready. The opposition is boycotting the talks, which it sees as a delaying tactic facilitated by a Kabila ally, Togolese diplomat Edem Kodjo.
« The government’s provocations, its inconsistencies, are increasing as they seek to corrupt the facilitator to rig the outcome of the dialogue, » opposition spokesman Bruno Tshibala said on Radio France International, whose FM station was off air locally, as it often is on opposition protest days.
« That’s why we decided to launch this general strike. »
A government spokesman dismissed the strike as the work of « some radicals … having some old fashioned fun ».

Taxi rank at Kintambo Magasin Usually bustling with life