Kabila camp questions Bemba's eligibility for DRC poll

2018-07-28 15:49
Former vice-president of Democratic Republic of Congo Jean-Pierre Bemba (John Thys/AFP)

Former vice-president of Democratic Republic of Congo Jean-Pierre Bemba (John Thys/AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A spokesperson for the ruling party of Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila on Friday suggested Jean-Pierre Bemba may be eligible to run for president after the ex-warlord said he would return to the country to stand as a candidate in December's election.

Bemba "could fall within the ambit of article 10 of the electoral law" finding those who have convictions for corruption "ineligible," Alain Atundu, spokesperson for the Presidential Majority, told AFP.

Atundu said he hoped that Bemba would "solemnly" commit to not running "if he is found to be ineligible under the electoral law".

The International Criminal Court (ICC) last month overturned on appeal an initial 18-year term for war crimes and crimes against humanity for Bemba, a former vice president, finding he could not be held responsible for crimes committed by his troops.

But in March 2017 he was also convicted for bribing witnesses.

Earlier this month the ICC urged that he be given a five-year term on that count but no date has been fixed for a verdict.

This week Bemba said he would arrive in the capital Kinshasa on August 1 after his party, the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC), announced he was filing his candidacy for the presidential election.

Bemba, a senator, is currently in Belgium and must give the ICC details of his whereabouts when required.

The government recently accorded him a diplomatic passport.

Kabila, who has ruled since 2001, has refused to spell out whether he will seek a new term in office in the crucial December 23 election.

Dozens of people have been killed in protests since late 2016, when Kabila was scheduled to stand down at the end of his second elected term, technically the last permitted under the constitution.

August 8 is the deadline for candidates to submit applications.

The DRC, a mineral rich country but one of Africa's most volatile countries, has never known a peaceful transition of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960 - and some experts fear that the December election may trigger a bloody conflict.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    international criminal court  |  drc  |  central africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.