Veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi

DR Congo opposition rejects talk with government, to mount protest

A widespread opposition protest is expected in the Democratic Republic of Congo after opposition politicians declined an all-party talk with the Kabile regime initiated by the African Union.

Former Togolese Prime Minister Edem Kodjo was to mediate between the groups on Tuesday.

The deeply divided opposition pushed their differences aside choosing veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi to lead a coalition to unseat Joseph Kabila who is clinching on to power in the Central African state.

The new opposition coalition is demanding Mr Kabila to step down when his mandate ends in December 2016, although elections have been pushed to 2017. The newly formed Ressamblent coalition called on its supporters to mobilise as one to stop this umpteenth abuse of authority by observing a dead city strike on Tuesday, August 23.

DR Congo opposition accused the African Union lead mediator, Prime Minister Kodjo of being biased and supportive of prolonging Kabila’s stay and said it may consider participating in talks if Kodjo is replaced and that Kinshasa releases all political prisoners.

The government has since announced it will free at least two dozen political prisoners and prisoners of conscience to ease the tension for dialogue.

Opposition leaders across Africa are facing arrest and prosecution. The Republic of Congo is prosecuting opposition leader Jean Marie Michel Mokoko for allegedly undermining state security and possessing illegal weapons; and in The Gambia, opposition leader Ousainou Darboe has been sent to prison for three years for leading a peaceful protest demanding the corpse of a senior member of his party who was tortured to death in state custody.

In both countries, the oppositions are deeply divided and unable to form a coalition. Political leaders in The Gambia are being criticized for not uniting to demand Darboe’s release and instead choosing to join an all-party talk, which made no progress.

Kabila has been in power in Congo for 15 years.

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