Joseph Kabila Election Delay Will Amount To High Treason

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Moise Katumbi

[Op-Ed]

On August 4, 2016, while traveling to Uganda, the President of the Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, announced that the election timetable would not be published before the end of the voters’ registration operations, which the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) has been doing since July 31, 2016.

This new chapter illustrates, if some still had doubts, the willingness of President Joseph Kabila and his presidential majority to stay in power at all costs, despite our Constitution and against the people's desire to go through, in 2016, its first democratic and peaceful change.

Among the reasons that led me to resign from the People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) and from the Government in September 2015, included the breach of our Constitution, the instrumentalisation of our institutions and, more broadly, the totalitarian drift of our system.

The goal of our leaders is clear: to do everything possible in order to remain in power. Their action plan is as clear, and it is based on three axis:

1) To organize an artificial political dialogue among those who support him, in order to lead an illegitimate transition government to serve their totalitarian ambitions.

2) To announce an electoral calendar that gives priority to local and provincial elections before the national one. This will delay the presidential election at least; and, through non-compliant elections, it will ensure a comfortable majority for the regime among local institutions, provincial assemblies, the Senate and the National Assembly.

3) To enact a Constitution modification by both chambers in Congress that will allow them to cling to power.

This plan constitutes a crime of high treason. Fortunately, this will remain only the utopian dream of a regime. The Congolese people and the Forces for Change will not be fooled and betrayed in such a way. They will support the Constitution in order to save the country.

In a new public statement made in Beni on August 7, 2016, President Kabila proudly stated he belonged to a generation that freed the country and installed democracy.How then is it possible, in this same speech, that he can denigrate and cast aspersions on our elders who struggled for democracy for the simple reason that they do not share his views and refuse to support him! Far from being wise and contributing to the national unity, such statements may oppose our compatriots and further divide the country.Worse, for all these maneuvers, this regime weakens and threatens our democracy by gradually installing a totalitarian regime. Working together, this will not happen.On September 20, 2016, the electoral body must be convened as it is written in the Constitution. On December 20, 2016, a new President of the Republic must come into office.

If these Constitutional obligations are not met, the Congolese people will reject the dictatorship and not recognize this regime. We do hope that the international community will do the same. There is still time to save democracy in DRC, and for President Kabila to leave successfully. 

Katumbi is the former Governor of Congo's Katanga region and he is a candidate in the constitutionally-mandated presidential election

 

 

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