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DRC opposition chief Tshisekedi slams April 2018 poll 'agreement'

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) main opposition leader, Etienne Tshisekedi, leader of the UDPS, has chastised an agreement entered into by the government and an opposition faction to delay the presidential election until April 2018.

The agreement validated during a plenary meeting in Kinshasa will extend incumbent Joseph Kabila’s stay in power. The deal was led by former Togolese prime minister who is leading an African Union (AU) facilitated dialogue in the country.

After the deal was announced, Mr Kodjo tweeted to that effect. His tweet translated as follows, ‘‘Inclusive national dialogue: the plenary adopted by acclamation an agreement for peaceful, credible and transparent elections in DR Congo.’‘

Dialogue national inclusif: la plénière adopte par acclamation un accord pour des élections apaisées, crédibles et transparente en #RDConco

— Edem Kodjo (@EdemKodjoRDC) October 17, 2016

Jean-Marc Kabund, an official of Mr Tshisekedi’s party, told AFP that they did not recognise the agreement they described as a ‘working document, ‘‘As far as we are concerned, this deal is just a working document.”

Under the said agreement Kabila gets to stay in power but with a Prime Minister from the opposition side. The Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) will then go about organizing a voters register and preparing for elections in April 2018.

But the opposition faction known as the Rally and led by the UDPS, has said it will not back down on piling pressure on Kabila to abide by the constitution when his tenure expires in December this year.

The deal was signed earlier before the the Constitutional on Monday also gave the electoral body official permission to delay the elections. The court asked the body to produce a timetable on how and when it could realistically hold polls.

Protests last month against the delaying of the presidential election resulted in at least 50 deaths. The opposition has hinted that they will hold another protest if an electoral timetable was not announced soon.

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