Politics of the Democratic Republic of the CongoDespite President Kabila's claims that his was a transitional government leading to a new constitution and full elections by April 1999, these elections have not yet been held, and a 1998 draft constitution has not been finalized. All executive, legislative, and military powers are vested in the president. The judiciary is independent, with the president having the power to dismiss or appoint. The president is head of a 26-member cabinet dominated by the AFDL.
Despite some successes at improving internal security and lowering the inflation rate over his first year, Kabila was unable to control insurgent activities by various armed groups. Activities by Hutu ex-FAR/Interahamwe, Mai-Mai soldiers, and a February 1998 mutiny by Tutsi Banyamulenge destabilized the regime. In addition, Kabila's pledges to democratize the government over time contrasted with the reality of banned political parties and increasingly centralized power. Criticism of Kabila's government grew both domestically and within the international community.
In an attempt to stabilize the country and consolidate his control, President Kabila in August 1998 expelled the Rwandan troops remaining in DROC after his 1997 victory. This prompted army mutinies in Kinshasa and the Kivu provinces in the east. Although the Kinshasa mutiny was put down, the mutiny in the Kivus continued and mushroomed into a drive to topple the government. Opposing the Kabila government were factions of the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD), Rwanda, and Uganda. The Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), another rebel group, emerged later. Defending the Kabila government were the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR)/Interahamwe militia, Angola, Namibia, Chad, Zimbabwe, and the Congolese army (FAC).
A cease-fire was signed on 10 July 1999 by the DROC, Zimbabwe, Angola, Uganda, Namibia, Rwanda, and Congolese armed rebel groups, but sporadic fighting continued. Kabila was assassinated on 16 January 2001 and his son Joseph Kabila was named head of state ten days later. In October 2002, the new president was successful in getting occupying Rwandan forces to withdraw from eastern Congo; two months later, an agreement was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and set up a government of national unity.
Principal Government Officials
conventional long form: Democratic Republic of the Congo
conventional short form: none
local long form: Republique Democratique du Congo
local short form: none
former: Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire
Data code: CG
Government type: dictatorship; presumably undergoing a transition to representative government
Administrative divisions: 10 provinces (provinces, singular - province) and one city* (ville); Bandundu, Bas-Congo, Equateur, Kasai-Occidental, [Kasai-Oriental]], Katanga, Kinshasa*, Maniema, Nord-Kivu, Orientale, Sud-Kivu
National holiday: anniversary of independence from Belgium, 30 June (1960)
Constitution: 24 June 1967, amended August 1974, revised 15 February 1978, amended April 1990; transitional constitution promulgated in April 1994; in November 1998, a draft constitution was approved by former President Laurent Kabila but it was not ratified by a national referendum; one outcome of the ongoing inter-Congolese dialogue is to be a new constitution
Legal system: based on Belgian civil law system and tribal law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
chief of state: President Joseph Kabila (since 26 January 2001); note - following the assassination of his father, Laurent Desire Kabila, on 16 January 2001, Joseph Kabila succeeded to the presidency; the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Joseph Kabila (since 26 January 2001); note - following the assassination of his father, Laurent Desire Kabila, on 16 January 2001, Joseph Kabila succeeded to the presidency; the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: National Executive Council, appointed by the president
elections: before Laurent Desire KABILA seized power, the president was elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 29 July 1984 (next was scheduled to be held in May 1997); formerly, there was also a prime minister elected by the High Council of the Republic; note - the term of the former government expired in 1991, elections were not held, and former President MOBUTU continued in office until his government was militarily defeated by KABILA on 17 May 1997
election results: results of the last election before the coup were: MOBUTU Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga reelected president in 1984 without opposition
note: Marshal MOBUTU Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga was president from 24 November 1965 until forced into exile on 16 May 1997 when his government was overthrown militarily by Laurent Desire KABILA; KABILA immediately assumed governing authority and pledged to hold elections by April 1999, but, in December 1998, announced that elections would be postponed until all foreign military forces attempting to topple the government had withdrawn from the country; KABILA was assassinated in January 2001 and was succeeded by his son Joseph KABILA
Marshal MOBUTU Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga was president from 24 November 1965 until forced into exile on 16 May 1997 when his government was overthrown militarily by Laurent Desire KABILA, who immediately assumed governing authority and pledged to hold elections by April 1999, but, in December 1998, announced that elections would be postponed until all foreign military forces attempting to topple the government had withdrawn from the country; KABILA was assassinated in January 2001 and was succeeded by his son Joseph KABILA
a 300-member Transitional Constituent Assembly established in August 2000
elections: NA; members of the Transitional Constituent Assembly were appointed by former President Laurent Desire KABILA
elections: the country's first multi-party presidential and legislative elections had been scheduled for May 1997 but were not held; instead Laurent KABILA overthrew the MOBUTU government and seized control of the country
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Social Christian Party or PDSC [Andre BO-BOLIKO]; Forces for Renovation for Union and Solidarity or FONUS [Joseph OLENGHANKOY]; National Congolese Lumumbist Movement or MNC [Francois LUMUMBA]; Popular Movement of the Revolution or MPR (three factions: MPR-Fait Prive [Catherine NZUZI wa Mbombo]; MPR/Vunduawe [Felix VUNDUAWE]; MPR/Mananga [MANANGA Dintoka Mpholo]); Unified Lumumbast Party or PALU [Antoine GIZENGA]; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Etienne TSHISEKEDI wa Mulumba]; Union of Federalists and Independent Republicans or UFERI (two factions: UFERI [Lokambo OMOKOKO]; UFERI/OR [Adolph Kishwe MAYA])
International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CEEAC, CEPGL, ECA, FAO, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, International Maritime Organization, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW (signatory), PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO [WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Flag description: light blue with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center and a columnar arrangement of six small yellow five-pointed stars along the hoist side
- See also : Democratic Republic of the Congo