DRC opposition calls 'ghost town' protest as crisis grows

2017-03-30 16:56
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila. (Photo: AFP)

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila. (Photo: AFP)

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Kinshasa - The Democratic Republic of Congo's opposition have called for a stay-home stoppage for Monday to force President Joseph Kabila to implement a deal on sharing power.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, an umbrella group of opposition parties said they would stage a "ghost town" operation bringing cities to a standstill across the country.

The alliance, called Rassemblement ("Rally"), condemned "the chaos" that it said had been caused by Kabila's failure to implement a power-sharing deal signed on December 31.

Kabila first took power in 2001 to replace his assassinated father as war ravaged the country.

His unwillingness to step down and enable elections at the end of his constitutional mandate last year led to protests in which at least 17 people were killed.

Under a deal brokered by the country's influential Roman Catholic bishops, Kabila was allowed to stay in office until late 2017 in tandem with a transitional body and a new premier, who will be drawn from opposition ranks.

But talks on implementing the accord appear to have broken down, and violence has flared in the vast, volatile country.

Last week, 39 police were killed in an ambush by rebels in the remote central region of Kasai in an ambush by rebels.

In a separate incident, two foreign UN experts, one American and the other Swedish, were killed in the same region.

The UN, European Union, African Union and the International Organisation of La Francophonie - the French-speaking equivalent of the Commonwealth - on Tuesday called for an opposition figure to be named premier in line with December 31 agreement.

"A step forward of this kind will help the country's stabilisation process, the restoration of public order... and the holding of elections as scheduled," they said.

The opposition coalition was formed around Etienne Tshisekedi, a veteran foe of successive Kinshasa regimes who died in Brussels in February, aged 84.

Read more on:    joseph ­kabila  |  etienne tshisekedi  |  drc  |  central africa

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