Full Length Research Paper
Some African leaders cause problems in Africa when they breach peace accords, rig elections or manipulate their respective constitutions in order to remain in power indefinitely. At the same time, they expect a frustrated opposition to come along through national dialogues and help to quench the fire which they have deliberately ignited. It appears however that lasting solutions to political crisis are yet to be found in countries such as Burundi, Congo and Gabon to name but a few. This paper focuses on a series of actions initiated by the government of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in recent times. Such actions included the reluctance of the Kabila administration to fund the Independent Electoral Commission, the Constitutional Court’s interpretation of Article 70 of the Constitution that ruled in favour of the incumbent to remain in power until a new president is elected and the inconclusive nature of the national dialogue to discuss the future of the country beyond 2016. The study relies on secondary data (review of extant literature) and adopts a paradigm of elite clientelism in order to make sense of the current political stalemate. Findings suggest that the government-initiated political dialogue was a sophisticated strategy of dividing the opposition and rewarding a few sympathisers to the regime with political appointments in order to maintain the status quo ante. The study calls on donor countries to step up pressure on the regime and condition their development aid on its readiness to hold credible elections in order to avert another major crisis looming.
Key words: National dialogue, constitution, Kabila, elite clientelism, term limit, conflict.
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