aeta-edem-kodjoOn 20 August 2016, the DRC national dialogue facilitator Edem Kodjo “invited all stakeholders from the Congolese political class and civil society to send their delegates to the preparatory committee of the dialogue starting on 23 August 2016”. This should pave the way for the effective holding of the forum as from 19 September 2016.

However, leading opposition platforms such as the Tshisekedi-led Rassemblement and the G7 rejected Kodjo’s invitation saying that all preconditions to the start of the dialogue had not been fulfilled. One such precondition was the release of all political and opinion detainees. It however appears that only 4 out of the 24 persons the Government said it released were effectively in detention. The remaining 20 had already been released. On the other hand, charges against Moïse Katumbi and other opposition leaders have not been dropped as requested by the opposition.

The Rassamblement therefore reiterated that all pre-conditions be met. It promised to boycott the preparatory committee works, calling for a “ville morte” or dead city on 23 August 2016 instead. The Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC) of Kamerhe, while recognising that the release of detainees was a step in the right direction, submitted to the government an updated list to be freed. UNC will also be observing the dead city on 23 August 2016 because the party forms part of the Rassemblement.

The ruling party, through its Deputy Secretary General Ramazani Shadary, confirmed “all conditions for the holding of the dialogue have been met” and therefore will be attending the preparatory session.  Shadary said “there is a part of the opposition that has accepted to start the dialogue while another part, for reasons best known to themselves, refuses to attend”.

Meanwhile, the leader of the New Congolese Civil Society (NSCC), Jonas Tshombela on 21 August 2016 urged Edem Kodjo “to resume direct consultations with all the stakeholders beyond the invitation to attend the preparatory committee”. Tshombela insisted that the NSCC “reiterate our demand that political detainees be released” in order to effectively ease the tensions.

Announced by president Kabila since November 2015, the inclusive political dialogue has until now failed to take off due to political dissensions with the Congolese political class.