“Election Times and Murder in Kinshasa”, Erik Kennes (Egmont, Belgium)

On 13 July, the bullet-ridden corpse of former Minister Chérubin Okende was discovered close to the city centre of Kinshasa, in a display reminding of the 2010 murder of the renowned human rights activist Floribert Chebeya. Mr. Okende was the Minister of Transport in the DRC government, until he quit in December last year, with colleague ministers belonging to Moise Katumbi’s political opposition movement “Ensemble”. Since the latter announced his presidential ambitions, “Ensemble” is the target of many actions of repression from the authorities. Regardless of whether the Tshisekedi regime or external forces are responsible for the murder, its effect has unambiguously deterred opposition politicians who now fear for their life. The killing has until now been the apex of a very much deteriorated electoral and political climate, which does not bode well for the upcoming elections. Moreover, this evolution may jeopardize the future of elections in the DRC as a legitimate procedure for representation, circumscribing the distribution of power and responsibilities[1]. The DRC may thus in the end continue with, and align with, fake elections as in its neighbouring countries.

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