Saturday, October 25th
SPECIAL PANEL DISCUSSION
Peace and Stability in the DRC: The 2016 Elections and Congo's Constitution
A central issue of concern to the Congolese populace at large is the transition from the current government to a new one in 2016. President Joseph Kabila's second term in office will expire in December 2016 and per the Congolese constitution, he is not permitted to run for a third term. His political party has signaled that they will seek to change the constitution in order to allow Kabila to run again. Congolese civil society, youth, faith leaders and opposition forces have called for Kabila and his political party to respect the country's constitution. In addition, the United States via Secretary of State, John Kerry and Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region Russ Feingold has called on Kabila to step down at the conclusion of his second term and organize elections to usher in a new government and peaceful transition. A key component of the Peace Framework established by the United Nations and 11 African countries to advance peace in the Congo calls for the Kinshasa government to subscribe to the principles of good governance, which entail respecting Congo's constitution.
Congo in Harlem has gathered a panel of experts to discuss Congo's prospects for a peaceful democratic transition in 2016.
Video from this event can be viewed here
Michael Deibert's writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the Miami Herald, Le Monde diplomatique, Folha de São Paulo and the World Policy Journal, among other venues. He has been a featured commentator on international affairs on the BBC, Al Jazeera, Channel 4, National Public Radio, WNYC New York Public Radio and KPFK Pacifica Radio. In 2012, he was awarded a grant from the International Peace Research Association and, in 2008, he was selected as a ﬁnalist for the Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism, sponsored by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, both in recognition of his work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is the author of three books: In the Shadow of Saint Death: The Gulf Cartel and the Price of America's Drug War in Mexico (Lyons Press), The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair (Zed Books) and Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti (Seven Stories Press).
Kambale Musavuli, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a human rights activist committed to realizing peace and justice in the Congo. He has shared his experiences of partnering with a global community and Congolese civil society to end the country's conflict and build lasting peace and stability in the heart of Africa. Kambale studied Civil Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro. Ever since, he has had a deep sense of community service and commitment to justice for all peoples. He has organized campaigns for social change and currently tours the United States, Canada, and Africa speaking to students and leaders alike - hoping to recruit them as active participants in a search for a better world.
In addition, he has also written for renowned publications, appeared on leading television and radio shows and in films. Some notable partnerships include writing for The Washington Post, New York Times and The Huffington Post, interviews on National Public Radio, ABC News and Al Jazeera English Television. Since 2008, he has been a member of International Advisory Committee for the City of Greensboro. In 2009, he received a Congolese Hero Award. He was also profiled by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for taking action to confront genocide and related crimes against humanity today.
Alain Seckler, a national of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, joined the UN in 1990. He has worked at UN Headquarters in Geneva and New York, with postings in ex-Yugoslavia, Haiti and from 2005-2009 the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Alain joined the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 2002 and worked on Western Sahara and the DRC in the capacity of Political Affairs Officer. His main concentration is currently on the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, MONUSCO.
Jason Stearns is a political analyst and scientist focusing on conflict and Africa's Great Lakes region. He is the director of the Rift Valley Institute's Usalama Project, a research project on armed groups in the eastern Congo. Stearns has also worked as the coordinator of the United Nations Group of Experts on the Congo; for Heritiers de la Justice, a local human rights NGO; the UN peacekeeping mission MONUC; and the International Crisis Group. A book he wrote on the conflict, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, was published in March 2011.