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DRC opposition denies planning anti-Kabila protests, negotiation suspended

DRC opposition denies planning anti-Kabila protests, negotiation suspended

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The main opposition coalition in the Democratic Republic of Congo said it is not planning mass protests against President Joseph Kabila when his term ends on December 19.

One of the leaders of the coalition, Felix Tshisekedi told Reuters on Saturday that they will not organise a protest to avoid giving the government “an opportunity to fire on the population.”

He however said he expects the people to mobilize and protest in their own way.

Meanwhile, negotiations between the government and opposition to find a solution to the political crisis has been suspended until December 21, a day after the expiry of Kabila’s term.

Mediated by the Conference of catholic Bishops of Congo (CENCO), the negotiation which was initiated on December 8 hit a dead end on Friday when it was scheduled to end.

The Bishops extended it to Saturday and a compromise was not attained. They decided to fly to the Vatican until Tuesday evening to find a compromise in the establishment of a transition period which will lead to the presidential election.

Kabila is required by constitutional term limits to step down when his second mandate ends on December 19, but a constitutional court ruled that he can stay on until a new successor is elected.

Elections have been postponed to April 2018 after the electoral commission complained of inadequate resources to conduct the process.

The opposition accuse Kabila of manipulating the system to cling on to power, while a faction of the opposition has agreed and through a national dialogue, got one of its members appointed Prime Minister until the election.

Human Rights Watch and other bodies have warned of the risk of major violence if Kabila doesn’t make a public commitment before the end of his second term to respect the constitution and leave office.

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