AFRICA/DR CONGO RD - Internal and international pressures increase in order to hold elections by the end of the year

Friday, 28 July 2017 politics   elections   bishops  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - Internal and international pressures on President Joseph Kabila increase so presidential elections can be held by the end of 2017.The Lucha (Lutte pour le Changement) movement, based in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has launched an appeal to peacefully demonstrate throughout the Country on 31 July to call for an election calendar as soon as possible and to recall that "the Congolese people will not give Kabila and his regime another day in office after December 31, 2017". Kabila's second and last mandate expired on December 20, 2016, but was extended thanks to December 31 Agreement mediated by the Catholic Bishops. The agreements establish that Kabila remains in power the time needed to form a national unity government that will hold elections by 2017.
Elections that have not yet been scheduled, while the government formed in May and chaired by Bruno Tshibala does not represent the whole Congolese political system because it excludes Le Rassemblement, an important part of the opposition in Kabila.
Lucha's initiative is added to the protest program launched by Le Rassemblement (see Fides 27/7/2017) and on 26 July the UN Security Council unanimously approved a statement with which it calls on Congolese parties to apply the December 31 Agreement "in good faith and in its entirety, in order to organize by December 2017 credible and inclusive elections, and lead to the peaceful transition of powers".
The Catholic Bishops, who have withdrawn from mediation, increasingly express their disappointment with politicians who, in their words, "multiply initiatives to empty the Agreement of its content, thus preventing the free, democratic and peaceful elections" (See Fides 26/6/2017). "We made a mistake last year. We thought that we could reach elections through negotiations, and therefore avoid a possible massacre. However, we were betrayed by the rulers. Without a popular uprising, there will be no change in this Country, unfortunately", said Fr. Donatien Nshole, Secretary General of the Congolese Bishops' Conference (CENCO), to the Flemish-speaking Belgium Journal. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 28/7/2017)