Consultative meetings launched last week by Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) President Joseph Kabila went on with civil society actors, religious leaders and leaders of political parties, although the main opposition parties in the country continued to oppose the president’s offer for talks. DR Congo
The talks are meant to lead to holding of national dialogue to resolve the current political crisis in the country before the presidential and legislative elections in 2016.
The electoral timetable that was published in February by the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) has been disputed by the political opposition.
Even though the Constitution bars him from contesting for a third term, Kabila who has been in power since 2001 has not yet declared his possible candidature. What is clear though is that the president wants to listen to all sides in order to lay the ground for national dialogue.
But, five days since the president began holding consultative meetings with various stakeholders, the opposition parties have continued to express scepticism towards his intentions.
After meeting with religious leaders, on Friday the president met with heads of political parties. Three opposition parties believed to be allied to the president’s camp, the Congolese Rally for Democracy, Movement for Renewal and Labor Party, agreed to meet with the president.
On the other hand, the main opposition parties have remained firm on their refusal to dialogue with the president.
According to the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), there’s no need to hold prior consultations, but rather hold direct dialogue, which must be led by international mediators.
The Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC) and the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) have categorically rejected any idea of holding dialogue.
According to these two parties, the key concern now is to resolve the problems associated with the electoral timetable, something that falls under the mandate of CENI and not the president.
“We cannot dialogue with someone who has imprisoned our colleagues. Our party president Diomi Ndongala is in prison over baseless accusations. His arrest was a form of punishment because he refused to recognize Kabila as the president of the republic. Our other colleagues Jean-Claude Muyambu, Jean-Bertrand Ewanga and Zando Moyindo are equally in prison without any reasons,” said Freddy Kita, the secretary general of Christian Democrats, Ndongala’s party.
“Dialogue would have been acceptable in 2012 just after the presidential elections and the political crisis that ensued. Today, with just one year before the end of Kabila’s second term, we demand that he respects the Constitution which does not allow him to contest for a third term. This is why we as Christian Democrats will not take part in the national dialogue,” he added.
Inside the country as well as outside, calls have been increasing for the respect of the Constitution as well as finding consensus on the objectives of the proposed national dialogue.
Even though no one knows exactly why Kabila wants to hold national dialogue, what is clear for everyone, including those opposed to national dialogue, is that there’s need to make the electoral timetable workable and to ensure that it respects constitutional time-lines for organizing presidential elections in 2016.
Another contentious issue raised by the opposition is that of majority of youths who attained the age of 18 years between 2011 and 2015, and who are supposed to participate in the forthcoming elections.
The hardline position taken by opposition parties signify that President Kabila will continue facing difficulties to achieve his desired goal of holding national dialogue in the run up to the 2016 elections. Enditem



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