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Referendum: calm reigns in Kinshasa, president visits South Kivu


December 17, 2005

While calm returns to Kinshasa after demonstrations against Sunday?s referendum yesterday morning, the Congolese people have turned their attention to Bukavu, capital of South Kivu, as for the first time president Josep Kabila visited the area. The head of state promised ?the end of impunity?, announcing the transfer of the army headquarters from Kinshasa to Bukavu (an almost 2000 km. long transfer). He said ?to contribute to the resumption of a lasting peace in the east and the rest of the national territory?. The region is still the most insecure and unstable of the entire area: after the invasion of pro-Rwandan groups and the occupation by troops from Kigali and Uganda during the 1998-2003 conflict, it became the main theatre of ccombat of the last armed formations coming from all over the region of the Great Lakes. After stopping in Kindu, Kabila promised the people of South Kivu that those threatening security in the region would be punished. He also exhorted his citizens to vote yes in the Constitutional referendum, an essential step leading to presidential elections in 2006 and to a return to democracy, even if it appears ever more likely that most of the voters do not know the contents of the new Charter. MISNA also learned that the two arrested representatives were freed ion the morning.

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