AFRICA/DR CONGO - "National dialogue" promoted by Kabila struggles to kick off

Friday, 5 February 2016 elections  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - On January 16, the President of the African Union (AU) Commission of the, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, appointed Edem Kojo, former Prime Minister of Togo, as envoy of the AU to conduct the necessary consultations to start "national political dialogue" announced by President Joseph Kabila in order to find solutions on how to solve certain financial, political, logistical problems in view of the organization in the upcoming elections.
The opposition party members of the Opposition Dynamics, the G7 and the Citizen Front 2016 have agreed to meet Edem Kodjo, even to inform him of the reasons for their refusal to participate in the dialogue.
"Their position is clear: respect for the Constitution passes through the organization of presidential and national legislative elections within the time limits provided for by the Constitution, ie by the end of November 2016. This implies the postponement of local elections after 2016", explains a note sent to Agenzia Fides by the Peace Network for Congo.
Their main objective is to ensure democratic alternation to state leaders, in accordance with the articles of the Constitution according to which the President of the Republic is elected for a term of five years, renewable once.
They fear that the conclusions and recommendations of the dialogue sanctions the indefinite postponement of the elections and, therefore, the extension of the mandate of the current President of the Republic or even the legitimacy of a possible third term, in violation of the Constitution.
Their strategy is the refusal of dialogue proposed by President Kabila. Such a refusal would be for them the only way to avoid falling into the trap of having to endorse conclusions and recommendations which are not shared. They are waiting for the end of the current and last constitutional mandate of President Joseph Kabila to enact his final illegality and illegitimacy as Head of State.
This contrasts with the strategy of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) of Etienne Tshisekedi, who following the numerous irregularities and electoral fraud of 2011, has never recognized the results of those elections. The UDPS believes that dialogue should not be convened and moderated by Joseph Kabila, but by the United Nations. It is not at all clear how the UDPS intends to solve the famous "election dispute of 2011"; some members of the party are in favor of a transition period with new leaders.
"The Congolese are confused. The only thing that is known is his will to enforce the constitution, to change the current leaders of the institutions, to move from a façade of democracy to genuine democracy based on justice and not impunity, honesty and not on corruption, an economy which puts social issues at the center of its concerns and not on an economy centered on the looting of the Country's natural resources by multinationals, with internal complicity of certain political, military and Congolese entrepreneurial figures" concludes the note. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 05/02/2016)