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Supporters of Bemba gather in Gemena, DRC. Photo: Junior D. Kannah/AFP/Getty Images

After a will-he-or-won’t-he saga that dragged on for years, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila will not contest December’s election, a spokesman announced yesterday.

Why it matters: Still just 47, Kabila has been in power since the assassination of his father 17 years ago. He is constitutionally barred from seeking another term, but it was far from clear that would stop him, particularly after two years of election delays. His coalition will be represented by Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a former interior minister seen as a Kabila loyalist.

  • In the DRC, which as the Economist points out “has never had a peaceful transition of power,” every election carries the risk of war. Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest country by area and third-largest by population, it has faced persistent armed conflict and is now confronting a new Ebola outbreak.
  • Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former rebel leader convicted of war crimes (the conviction was recently overturned) is running. Moïse Katumbi, a Kabila ally-turned-foe now barred from entering the country, is not.
  • Corneille Nangaa, president of the DRC’s independent electoral commission, told me in June that the elections will go ahead on schedule, despite huge logistical challenges. He also gave a warning:
“No one has ever asked what role the army and the security services will play. They are people who believe strongly in Kabila. How are they going to behave when Kabila says he’s not a candidate?”

Raymond Tshibanda, the DRC’s special envoy to the U.S., told me something similar: "There might be people who will be afraid to hear tomorrow that Kabila will not be president anymore."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

How the tech stock selloff is hurting average Americans

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Investors holding the ultra-popular Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 index funds have been hard hit over the last two weeks as tech shares have been roiled by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

Why it matters: Even though the economy is growing and many U.S. stocks are performing well, most investors are seeing their wealth decline because major indexes no longer reflect the overall economy or even a broad swath of public companies — they reflect the performance of a few of the country's biggest companies.

2 hours ago - World

UN rights chief: At least 54 killed, 1,700 detained since Myanmar coup

A Feb. 7 protest in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

Police and military officers in Myanmar have killed at least 54 people during anti-coup protests, while "arbitrarily" detaining over 1,700 people, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.

Why it matters: Protesters have demonstrating across Myanmar for nearly a month, demanding the restoration of democracy after the country's military leaders overthrew its democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

3 hours ago - Health

The danger of a fourth wave

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Anomalous Arkansas case data from Feb. 28 was not included in the calculated change; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. may be on the verge of another surge in coronavirus cases, despite weeks of good news.

The big picture: Nationwide, progress against the virus has stalled. And some states are ditching their most important public safety measures even as their outbreaks are getting worse.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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