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DRC unrest prompts Africa conflict fears

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - 01:50

Fears of political instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been quelled for now, after days of fierce anti-government protests killed dozens of people. But as Katie Gregory reports there are fresh concerns civil instability could break out in other African nations where elections are also looming.

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Death and destruction on the streets of Democratic Republic of Congo. Demonstrators are grabbed by police and swiftly taken away. Most of the country's 65 million people live in poverty and these scenes in the east - are a call for change. Political analyst Yves Ouya says they want Joseph Kabila's lengthy presidency to come to an end. (SOUNDBITE) (French) YVES OUYA, POLITICAL ANALYST, SAYING: "He has been in power for 14 years and the youth have the right to ask for something new, taking into account that their quality of life hasn't changed. It's clear that the main agents in this movement are young people." The protests erupted over a draft law - which would have enabled President Kabila to extend his time in office - past 2016. It stated a nationwide census must be held before any election - something that would have taken around three years to complete. The anger prompted the Senate to vote against the government, for the first time since 2010, leaving the 2016 election in place. That means several leaders in West and Central Africa will now be up for re-election at roughly the same time. And that could bring trouble. (SOUNDBITE) (French) YVES OUYA, POLITICAL ANALYST, SAYING: "We must look independently at different cases; the first being where leaders are organising elections according to their constitution, but are trying to make absolutely sure that they are going to be elected. The second type is where presidents who know they can't be re-elected want to change the constitution, and in those cases, there will be uprisings in Africa." The DRCs rich reserves of gold, diamonds and copper have caused much of the decades-long conflict there. Fresh instability is the last thing the country needs. There are also fears unrest like this, could spring up in the other countries facing elections.

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DRC unrest prompts Africa conflict fears

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - 01:50