Tense DRC succession talks forced into extra day

by Sunday News Online | Sunday, Dec 18, 2016 | 1422 views

Kinshasa – Democratic Republic of Congo’s volatile political crisis rumbled on Friday after church-led talks were forced into another day, edging closer to the legal limit for President Joseph Kabila to hold on to power.

The country’s Catholic Episcopal Conference, CENCO, had set Friday as the deadline to get the government and opposition to agree on a transition for the country after Kabila’s second and last legal term expires on Tuesday. An election for a new Democratic Republic of Congo head of state was supposed to have been held this year, but the authorities failed to organise the polls.

The 45-year-old president, who stepped into his assassinated father’s shoes in 2001 and is now ruling for a second elected term, is barred from a third mandate under the constitution. Opponents accuse him of delaying the vote in the hope of tweaking the constitution to extend the Kabila family’s hold over a nation hugely rich in minerals that is almost the size of western Europe.

The international community has warned the current tension could lead to spiralling violence.

Some two decades ago, DRC sunk into the deadliest conflict in modern African history, its two wars in the late 1990s and early 2000s dragging in at least six African armies and leaving more than three million dead.

The CENCO-sponsored talks launched early this month pit the ruling party and fringe opposition groups against a mainstream opposition coalition headed by veteran Kabila rival, Etienne Tshisekedi, who is 84.

- News 24

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