When he is at home in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Joseph Kabila rarely leaves the presidential residence. His official visits to the far-flung corners of the enormous country he has ruled for more than 15 years are few and far between, and foreign trips are almost unheard of. It was quite significant, then, for him to visit Pretoria in June for a private meeting with Jacob Zuma, and it underlines how important to Kabila his close relationship with the SA president has become. Over the years, Zuma has arguably become Kabila’s closest ally on the continent, a relationship underpinned by personal favours that run contrary to the interests of both nations. Kabila, who refused to step down when his final term ended in December last year, has been clinging to power and using delaying tactics to push back presidential elections. This has plunged the DRC into what is fast becoming its most serious crisis since the end of the war in 2003. Yet, the SA administration has not only f...

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