DRC talks sus­pended over op­po­si­tion de­mands

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

KIN­SHASA — Po­lit­i­cal talks be­tween the gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion par­ties have re­port­edly been sus­pended af­ter the main op­po­si­tion block, Rassem­ble­ment, set pre-con­di­tions for at­tend­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Voice of Amer­ica, the Rassem­ble­ment’s de­mands in­cluded free­ing po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers, lift­ing ex­ist­ing bans on sev­eral TV sta­tions and the res­ig­na­tion of the dia­logue’s cur­rent fa­cil­i­ta­tor, Edem Kodjo, for­mer chair­per­son of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of African Unity.

A pre­vi­ous News24 re­port in­di­cated that ten­sions in the DRC arose fol­low­ing a con­tro­ver­sial court rul­ing that al­lowed Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila to re­main in power be­yond the two con­sec­u­tive pres­i­den­tial terms per­mit­ted by the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion.

Last month the main op­po­si­tion al­liance called for a gen­eral strike against Ka­bila’s 15-year rule. This was af­ter re­ject­ing talks over elec­tions that were due to be held in Novem­ber.

The elec­tions were sus­pended un­til next year af­ter gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties said that a de­lay would be needed to reg­is­ter mil­lions of new vot­ers.

Ka­bila came into power af­ter the as­sas­si­na­tion of his fa­ther in 2001 and although the con­sti­tu­tion stated that a pres­i­dent could only serve for two terms, there have been con­sis­tent de­lays as Ka­bila clings onto power.

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama re­cently urged Ka­bila to hold a cred­i­ble poll that re­spected the DRC’s con­sti­tu­tion.

Obama noted that Ka­bila’s legacy as a leader who brought his coun­try out of war and set it on a path to­ward demo­cratic progress would be bol­stered by free and fair elec­tions. — AFP

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