AU chair rushes to Congo as rebels edge on Kinshasa  

AU Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat was in Kinshasa on 28 September 2017, for a working visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Ebba Kalondo, Spokesperson of the Chairperson, African Union Commission, says the visit of the Chairperson of the AU Commission was mainly to discuss the political situation in the DRC.

In this regard, H.E. Moussa Faki went to listen to the political actors and to explore with them ways and means to accelerate the implementation of the agreement of 31 December 2016.

The Chairperson’s visit followed earlier missions by the Commissioners for Political Affairs; and Peace and Security of the AU, respectively, H.E. Mrs. Minata Samaté and H.E. Smail Chergui, and as well as his Personal Envoy Professor Hacen Lebatt.

While appearing at the UN General assembly meeting in New York, President Kabila pledged that he would hold free and fair elections.

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He did not give a definite date for the elections but promised they would take place.

A rebel spokesman in eastern Congo said on Friday that his movement intended to march across the country to the capital Kinshasa to depose President Kabila, who refused to quit power at the end of his mandate last year.

Led by self-proclaimed ‘general’ William Yakutumba, the rebel force, calling itself the National People’s Coalition for the Sovereignty of Congo (CNPSC), has emerged as one of the strongest groups in Democratic Republic of Congo’s lawless eastern borderlands since its formation in June.

Analysts doubt that the CNPSC has the capacity to make a move on the capital.

However it briefly captured some strategic towns in June and advanced this week to within a few kilometers of the city of Uvira along Lake Tanganyika, forcing U.N. helicopters to intervene to help Congolese troops drive them back.

Congo has been beset by a wave of prison breaks, rebellions and lawlessness since Kabila’s refusal to step down in December.

“We are even going to reach Kinshasa,” Dalton Waubwela Mwila, secretary-general of the CNPSC, told Reuters in a telephone interview. “Our ultimate objective is to be in Kinshasa.”

Kabila’s father, Laurent, came to power in 1997 on the back of a rebellion that started in eastern Congo, marching the more than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) to the capital, but he crucially received backing from the armies of neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.