A few items of interest:
- According to the Kinshasa L’Avenir newspaper, staff in various ministries have gone on strike with two key demands: (1) a “gratification” for the 50th anniversary celebrations, i.e. a bonus payment, and (2) that the “bareme de Mbudi,” the salary scale agreed on by the government and unions 2004, be respected. The salary scale is widely seen as unrealistic, as it would entail large salary increases across the board, something the government cannot afford. The pro-government newspaper has interpreted this as an attempt to sabotage the independence celebrations on June 30th, as well as a way to circuitously derail the debt forgiveness package anticipated from the IMF soon.
- Talking about independence celebrations, the family of Florivery Chebeya has decided not go along with the demands of the local human rights community, who wanted his burial to coincide with the June 30th celebrations. Instead, Chebeya will be buried in Kinshasa on June 26th. (See Alex Engwete for more on this.)
- The national assembly celebrated the end of its spring session. They didn’t achieve much, and their debates have been interrupted by several motions to impeach the prime minister, as well as by the “Affaire Mukonkole.” In May, the opposition MP Martin Mukonkole was arrested by the police for an alleged car theft racket. This despite his parliamentary immunity (which would have to be lifted by the national assembly before the arrest) and procedural abuses by judicial authorities.
- A tract has been making the rounds in some villages of North Kivu, allegedly signed by Bosco Taganda, announcing the creation of yet another rebel group, the MPLC . Good lord, Bosco, don’t you have enough acronyms to your name already? After the creation of the FLEC last year (which apparently never took off), being head of a wing of the ex-CNDP wasn’t enough – he had to have his own movement? Anyway, no one has confirmed whether the tract is the real thing, so let’s hold off on updating our lists of rebel groups.