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I promised nothing but to organize elections quickly - DR Congo's Kabila

Democratic Republic Of Congo

President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila says he made no promises on holding presidential elections this year but to organize it quickly.

In a rare interview with German newspaper Spiegel in Kinshasa on Saturday, he said the voter registration is going on smoothly and they want perfect elections, AFP reports.

“I promised nothing at all, I want to organize elections as quickly as possible … We want perfect elections, not just elections,” he said.

He also dismissed a possible constitutional reform for him to run for a third term saying it will only take a referendum to do that and there are no plans for it.

“I am very clear on this. All this blabla on a constitutional change is total nonsense … So far we have not started any debate on a possible popular consultation,” he explained.

“It depends on what you really mean by third term … We do not intend to undermine the constitution anyway, and how can I have a third term without undermining the constitution,” he added.

President Joseph Kabila joined residents of the capital Kinshasa last week to register to vote in the controversial presidential election that has an uncertain date.

The country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) started the voter registration process early this year after the United Nations mission airlifted 3,900 tonnes of election materials to 15 election centres around the country and distributed to 107 satellite stations.

The CENI came under pressure last year to complete the voter registration process ahead of the earlier slated November 2016 election date.

They explicitly stated that they were unable to meet the election deadline due to lack of resources. A court extended the mandate of President Joseph Kabila whose term expired in December last year.

A peace agreement was reached for a unity government after series of protests by the opposition who called on Kabila to step down. He agreed not to alter the constitution to stand for a third term in office.

However, his government says the $1.8 billion needed to organize the polls this year was out of reach.

The election is expected to be held latest by early 2018.

“It will take time but as soon as the voters register is available, we shall have an election,” Kabila stated in August 2016 during a visit to neighbouring Uganda.

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