WATCH: Kabila shouldn't govern by force, says DRC opposition

2016-10-22 14:09
Joseph kabila. (File: AFP)

Joseph kabila. (File: AFP) (Simon Maina, AFP)

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Cape Town – Democratic Republic of Congo’s opposition coalition has urged President Joseph Kabila to respect the country’s constitution and step down when his term of office expires on December 20.

In an interview with News24, the coalition's spokesperson Bonga Bogaine said that Kabila should not "govern the country by force".

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"Kabila’s first term under the new constitution was renewed to give him a new mandate which is supposed to end this year in December. The constitution states that no-one should govern by force in this country," said Bogaine.

This came as authorities and a "fringe opposition groups" taking part in a "national dialogue" held to reduce tensions in the country, signed a deal on Monday which would allow Kabila to stay in power until 2018. The move effectively delayed the presidential vote scheduled for this year.

"Kabila should in fact be preparing the country for a new leadership that should keep in line with what we all agreed upon in terms of our constitution. But this seems not to be happening. It’s almost clear that they have done everything to avoid [adhering to the requirements of the constitution]," Bogaine said.

Watch as Bogaine speaks below. 

Kabila first took office in 2001, and in 2006 a new constitutional provision limited the presidency to a two term limit which expires on December 20. 

A wave of deadly protests pitting police against demonstrators hit the DRC in late September, as the opposition demanded Kabila’s resignation. 

But the DRC Ambassador to South Africa Bene M’poko told News24 recently that Kabila was not trying to cling to power, adding that the postponement was meant to ensure that issues around the voter registration were dealt with. 

"President Kabila has never said he wanted [a] third term. He started the democracy in the DRC. He wants to leave DRC in a good frame of a democratic process. That’s all he is concerned [about]. He has never said he wanted a third term in office. Those are allegations by the opposition," M’Poko said.

The country's electoral commission also said recently that it required at least "504 days starting from July 31, 2017 to deal with a string of challenges" in its bid to organise the presidential and legislative election.

Baigain, however, maintained that the development was more than just an election being delayed.

'Constitutional court has failed' 

"Our constitution is supposed to be protected in three ways. The first is the presidency of the country. He [the president] as an individual has a mandate to protect the constitution. The second level is the constitutional court which is supposed to protect the laws of the constitution.

"That constitutional court has also failed because it has been invaded by the ruling party.  The third level of protection is the people . The people have a right to do anything in their power to stop whoever wants to take by force the power of this country. People [of this country] have already expressed their views on what is happening [by protesting]," said Bogaide. 

He said that the opposition was still willing to meet with the ruling party for dialogue in a "free and fair environment". 

"All we want is free talk. We are still willing to meet with them for dialogue but there must be a free and fair environment [that would allow us to speak freely]," he said.

Read more on:    joseph kabila  |  drc  |  central africa

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