DRC: Election Commission Casts Doubts On the 2017 Vote to Replace Kabila

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The president of Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission Corneille Nangaa has cast doubt on the possibility for the vote to replace President Joseph Kabila to take place in 2017. According to the election commission president, the vote to replace President Joseph Kabila will probably not take place this year, a statement that violates President Kabila`s   deal with the opposition leaders. Mr Corneille Nangaa`s   recent opinion seems to corroborate his statement last month, during an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel, where he also insisted that he had “promised nothing” in the December deal.

“The parameters at our disposal give us, more or less,   the reason to think that, in December, it will probably not be possible to stick to that date,” commission president Corneille Nangaa said in an interview on France’s TV5Monde.

As part of the December 31, 2016, accord agreement between President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the opposition leaders, the president, who has been in power since 2001,   and is constitutionally barred from standing for a third term, is expected to step down, paving way for new elections. Many have doubted the sincerity of President Kabila`s promise to step down. Having in mind that the President has repeatedly refused to step down, the most recent statement from the electoral commission, whom many see as Mr Kabila`s proté gé ,   has added some degree of credibility to that belief as well as left many worried.

It must be recalled that President Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his second elected term in December last year provoked serious violence, which claimed many lives.   Interestingly, President Joseph Kabila has earlier on indicated that only the electoral commission can determine the exact time and date for the elections after voters registration. However, having in mind that many believe that election commission tows the line of the president, would it be difficult to understand why many have interpreted Corneille Nangaa`s statement as a clear indication of President Kabila unwillingness to step down through systematic delays of the election process?

Reacting to Corneille Nangaa`s statement, the Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi quickly Twittered that the commission president “had declared war on the Congolese people.” Mr Tshisekedi promised a full response by the country’s main opposition to any attempt not to honour the signed agreement.

Having in mind, the level of violence and the number of lives lost during the protest against President Kabila`s   refusal to leave the office after the expiration of his tenure, are the delays to implement the December 31 peace accord in the Democratic Republic of Congo an explosive gunpowder, waiting to bring more casualties and unnecessary destructions in the country?

More than twenty-three years of political conflict and inter-communal violence has rendered DRC virtually ungovernable despite its huge mineral resources. The violence, which has displaced more than     3.7 million internally –     with more than   992,000 of them displaced last year alone – has clearly prevented the innocent citizens of the DRC from reaping the fruits ““ politically, socially and economically –   of their country’s abundant rich resources.   Is it not the time for any right thinking person to resist this injustice and modern enslavement and do what it is necessary to set the fabulously rich and blessed Democratic Republic of Congo on the right path of continuous prosperity?