Bishops in DRC call for Kabila to step down

KINSHASA - An influential grouping of Catholic bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday called for President Joseph Kabila to step down when his second term ends and that elections be held on schedule this year.

Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, is mandated to leave office in December. But in May the Constitutional Court said he could remain in power if a presidential election is not organised in time, which the opposition has accused him of deliberately delaying.

"It is imperative that we respect the constitution", especially concerning "the number and duration of mandates of the president of the Republic", priest Leonard Santedi, head of the National Bishops Conference of Congo, said at a press conference in Kinshasa.

He appealed to the DRC's leaders to "accept the transfer of power as fundamental in a democracy".

"Blocking the electoral process" creates a "worrying situation which risks plunging the country into chaos", he said, adding that it was the "responsibility of the political leaders" .

In a message published after their annual meeting, the bishops deplored the human rights violations and the "deteriorating socio-economic and security situation" in the country, especially in areas like eastern DRC which are plagued with rival militias.

"The people see themselves as being sacrificed on the altar of the politicians' interests," it said.

Kabila is widely believed to be eyeing a third term in office, but the opposition has warned that if he stays in power beyond December 19 when his second term runs out, it would be tantamount to a "constitutional coup d'etat".

On Friday Kabila promised to organise elections, but gave no indication of when they will be held.

Comments (3)

Why is it that we Africans are so possessed with power that we literally violate our own constitutions in pursuit of retention of power? 15 years in power is enough for one to make meaningful development to his/her country. Kabila must in the interests of the DRC step down in December and history will forever be grateful to him. Just look at our Uncle Bob, cant leave office because of skeletons in the cupboard. This reminds me of the late Masipula Sithole in our course of Survey of Political Ideas.

Dunga - 28 June 2016

There are African political leaders who believe that they came into power through war or coup and they must therefore get out of power through the same way.Shame on you.

widzo - 18 March 2017

There are African political leaders who believe that they came into power through war or coup and they must therefore get out of power through the same way.Shame on you.

widzo - 18 March 2017

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