The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has hit out at France for meddling negatively in its internal affairs and also inciting anti-government sentiments over the upcoming presidential election.
The French Foreign Minister Jean-Mark Ayrault has in the recent past repeatedly called for incumbent Joseph Kabila to respect the constitution and step down at the end of his current term which expires in December.
The French diplomat’s position is the same as that of President Francois Hollande who in the wake of opposition protests stated that there was the need for the constitution to be respect and elections held.
But the DRC’s Communication Minister, Lambert Mende, in an interview with the AFP news agency said France is playing a dangerous game:
‘‘After setting off the blaze by encouraging the extremists, France will fly out its citizens and will leave the Congolese to fend for themselves. The concerns of Minister Ayrault over the DR Congo are now suspicious as they bring to mind the interference which created the chaos in Libya,” Mende said.
French forces invaded Libya to help local anti-government forces to oust long serving leader Muammar Gadaffi in 2001. The north African country has since being plunged into chaos. It is divided between rival governments with Islamic State insurgents also holding parts of Sirte.
France moots sanctions on DRC if …
Earlier on Tuesday, Jean-Mark Ayrault told a television station, TV5 that Kabila had to respect the constitution or face sanctions from Paris.
‘‘President Kabila must set the example. He must abide by the constitution. If sanctions are needed, we will resort to sanctions.’‘
It becomes the second time in the spate of a week he has made such a call. The first was last week while addressing students in Paris. Kinshasa hit back the first time stating that DRC was not an extension of Paris asking France to stay off their political affairs.
The DRC is a former colony of Belgium. Ayrault also dismissed criticism that his country is meddling in Congolese internal affairs, according to him, they are not the only country reminding Kabila to respect the laws of the DRC.
‘‘I call people to be reasonable; people in power in the Democratic Republic of Congo must assume their responsibilities. If they want peace in their country, if they are concerned about the welfare of their people, they must abide by the constitution,” he added.