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Democratic Republic of the Congo

Yearbook 2019

Congo. The postponed elections that really should have been held in 2016 were finally carried out on December 30, 2018. When the results were announced on January 10, it was clear that former Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, supported by outgoing President Joseph Kabila, was no better than third with 24% of the votes. Defeated did Félix Tshisekedi, who has taken over as leader of the country's largest opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Development; the party was led up to 2017 by his father, Etienne Tshisekedi. With 39% of the votes, Félix Tshisekedi took a tight victory ahead of Martin Fayulu, who was running for the newly formed Alliance Lamuka ("Awakening") and received 35% of the vote. In advance, polls showed that Fayulu had the strongest support and he claimed that he had in fact received 61% of the vote in the election.

2019 Democratic Republic of the Congo

After being proclaimed victorious, Tshisekedi said that Joseph Kabila should no longer be seen as an opponent but as a partner. This diluted the rumors that the two politicians were secretly dealing with each other. After the Constitutional Court dismissed Fayulu's appeal, Félix Tshisekedi swore in as new president on January 24. The change from one head of state to another was the first to happen through elections in the country since independence in 1960. In March, President Tshisekedi lived up to his election promise to pardon 700 political prisoners who were imprisoned during the time of representative Kabila in power.

According to CountryAAH, the election to the National Assembly, which was also held in December, resulted in Joseph Kabila's newly formed coalition Congo's joint front receiving over 330 out of a total of 500 seats and thus own parliamentary majority. Lamuka received 102 seats, while the Alliance Towards Change, which includes Tshisekedi's party, received 46 seats. Kabila and his coalition achieved great success also in the elections to the Senate in March and in the governorship elections held in April. Government formation dragged on in time. Only at the end of August was a coalition government made up of a total of 65 ministers from Tshisekedi and Kabila's partial alliances. Two thirds (42 items) went to Kabilatrogen people, including the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Defense and the Minister responsible for the country's mining industry. Thirteen of the ministers were women.

In April, a three-year prison sentence was suspended against Moïse Katumbi, opposition politician, successful businessman and former governor of Katanga. The month after, Katumbi returned from exile. Katumbi intended to run for office in the presidential election but was not allowed to run because he has dual citizenship, besides Congolese even Italian. Even the remnants of former opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi could be returned to their home country in May, two years after his death.

The outbreak of Ebola fever continued in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in early November, a total of more than 3,000 people had so far suffered from the dreaded disease. In total, more than 2,000 people had died. At the same time, nearly 250,000 people had been vaccinated against Ebola fever. During the year an extensive measles epidemic also ravaged the country. According to UNICEF, over 200,000 cases were reported during the period January-October. Of these, more than 2,000 had died. Children under the age of five accounted for about three quarters of the disease cases and almost 90% of all deaths.

The protracted violent conflict in Ituri caught fire again in June, when at least 240 people were killed and more than 300,000 fled their homes. Ituri has long been the scene of severe abuse of the civilian population. In July, Rwandan militia leader Bosco Ntaganda was convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ituri. He was personally found guilty of murder and persecution. In addition, according to the court, he was complicit in a number of other crimes, including rape, sex slavery, forced recruitment of children and attacks on the civilian population. In November, Ntaganda was sentenced to 30 years in prison, the longest sentence that ICC has ever sentenced. Another suspected and wanted war criminal, Sylvestre Mudacumura, was shot dead in September by Congolese soldiers in North Kivu.

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