De­mo­cra­tic Re­pu­blic of the Con­go ‘fa­ces ci­vil war’

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

CON­GO - Op­po­si­ti­on lea­ders are warning that the De­mo­cra­tic Re­pu­blic of the Con­go (DRC) fa­ces ci­vil war if pre­si­dent Jo­seph Ka­bi­la does not re­lin­quish his grip on po­wer and step down when his man­da­te ends.

The DRC has suf­fe­red re­pe­a­ted bouts of un­rest sin­ce Ka­bi­la, 45, an­noun­ced that elec­ti­ons sche­du­led for this month would be de­lay­ed. The coun­try’s ru­ling co­a­li­ti­on and part of the op­po­si­ti­on re­cent­ly agreed to post­po­ne the vo­te to April 2018. Ho­we­ver, the deal was boy­cot­ted by Ras­sem­ble­ment, the main op­po­si­ti­on co­a­li­ti­on, which says it vi­o­la­tes the con­sti­tu­ti­on. Con­go’s po­werful Ca­tho­lic church al­so re­jec­ted the agree­ment. The in­ter­na­ti­o­nal com­mu­ni­ty has wat­ched the con­ti­nued tur­moil in the vast cen­tral Afri­can sta­te with in­cre­a­sing alarm. Sco­res of de­mon­stra­tors and se­ve­r­al po­li­ce­men we­re kil­led and the of­fi­ces of ma­jor op­po­si­ti­on par­ties bad­ly da­ma­ged amid wi­despread loot­ing du­ring pro­tests in Sep­tem­ber. Ka­bi­la sup­por­ters say lo­gis­ti­cal and fi­nan­ci­al con­s­traints mean it is im­pos­si­ble to hold fair polls as plan­ned. Cri­tics say the pre­si­dent, who­se se­cond term in of­fi­ce ex­pi­res in De­cem­ber, is trying to cling to po­wer by wha­te­ver means ne­ces­sa­ry. “The pe­o­p­le will ta­ke over,” said Eti­en­ne Ts­hi­se­kedi, the 83-year-old le­a­der of both Ras­sem­ble­ment and the Union for De­mo­cra­cy and So­ci­al Pro­gress (UDPS), a po­li­ti­cal par­ty. “Ka­bi­la has per­for­med a coup d’état against himself by sig­ning that agree­ment (to de­lay elec­ti­ons), be­cau­se he ma­de an oath to pro­tect the con­sti­tu­ti­on.” Va­len­tin Mu­ba­ke, Ts­hi­se­kedi’s po­li­ti­cal ad­vi­ser, said ci­vil war was “a pre­dic­ta­ble con­se­quen­ce” of the govern­ment’s de­laying tac­tics. “Elec­ti­ons are the on­ly so­lu­ti­on. Any­thing el­se will lead to war. The pe­o­p­le will ta­ke to the streets. Ka­bi­la will kill one or two mil­li­on of them but he won’t be ab­le to kill 70 mil­li­on,” he said. Wes­tern sta­tes, in­clu­ding the US, ha­ve re­pe­a­ted­ly told Ka­bi­la to stick to the elec­ti­on ca­len­dar or be pre­pa­red to sur­ren­der po­wer. The US re­cent­ly in­ten­si­fied tar­ge­ted sanc­ti­ons against se­ni­or in­di­vi­du­als within the pre­si­dent’s in­ner cir­cle. The UN, which has an 18,000-strong pea­ce­kee­ping for­ce in the coun­try, has as­ked po­li­ti­cal lea­ders not par­ty to the new deal to “seek to re­sol­ve their dif­fe­ren­ces pea­ce­ful­ly”.


Chi­ne­se Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang (3rd L Front) in­spects the gu­ard of ho­nor in a fa­re­well ce­re­mo­ny held for him at the air­port in Mo­scow, Rus­sia.(Pho­to: Xin­hua)

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