The Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC, is grappling with a political crisis, following a move by the Constitutional Court affirming the electoral commission’s decision to postpone the date for the next presidential elections by 16 months. This decision effectively extends the current — and supposedly last — mandate of President Joseph Kabila to April 2018, but it has been challenged and described as a “constitutional coup” by civil society organizations and two main political opposition parties.
On the website of the Congolese civil society movement Lutte Pour Le Changement, or LUCHA, is a picture of Kabila, inscribed with the date December 19, 2016, and the caption aurevoir, or goodbye. The picture sends the powerful message that LUCHA, like other civil society groups and citizens, expects the president to bid his farewell when his term officially comes to an end in December. Events over the last two years in the DRC — as well as the Constitutional Court’s recent announcement on the elections — are proof, however, that Kabila intends to stay in power even after his current mandate ends.