AFRICA/DR CONGO - Tension in Kinshasa for the ban on demonstrations of the opposition planned for tomorrow

Friday, 4 November 2016 elections   bishops  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo have announced a ban on all public demonstrations planned for tomorrow, November 5th. "Le Rassemblement", had announced two major demonstrations after that of 19 September and the "day of the dead cities" of 19 October: an assembly in Kinshasa on November 5, and a sit-in in front of Parliament, on November 19. All this on the eve of the fateful date of December 19, which marks the end of the second and final presidential term of President Joseph Kabila.
The presidential majority and the opposition party have agreed to hold presidential elections by April 2018; meanwhile Kabila would prolong his presidential term (see Fides 18/10/2016).
However, the terms of this agreement were not accepted either by the Grouping of political and social forces, by the Front for the respect of the Constitution or by the New Congolese Civil Society.
The Catholic Bishops who had withdrawn from "national dialogue" initiated by the Presidency, are now engaged in a difficult work of mediation to find a solution shared by all (see Fides 03/11/2016).
The committee of monitoring the electoral process of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO), indicated what the guidelines followed by the mediation of the Bishops are: "do everything possible to reduce the transition period, so that it does not exceed 2017; the transitional government that will be established must have as a priority the organization of elections and respect for fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and demonstration; in the consensus to be found, it must be clearly stated that the current President of the Republic will not occur for a third term, in accordance with Article 220 of the Constitution". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 04/11/2016)