Last Minute Attempt by Catholic Bishops to Avoid the Worst in DR Congo

Last Minute Attempt by Catholic Bishops to Avoid the Worst in DR Congo

CISA News

KINSHASA DECEMBER 9, 2016 (CISA) – The National Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENCO) on Dec 8, hosted a last-minute reconciliation talks to avert crisis as President Joseph Kabila’s second term comes to an end on December 19.

Speaking during the negotiations, Archbishop Marcel Utembi, the president of CENCO and archbishop of Kisangani, told 30 Congolese politicians that their mission is to forge “a larger consensus around the electoral process,” reported Africanews.

At the heart of the talks is the precise date when the General Elections should be held, as well as President Joseph Kabila’s fate, once his term expires on December 19th.

Elections slated for November 2016 were not organized, and in October President Kabila’s political alliance, struck an agreement with an opposition faction that permits the president to stay in office until polls can be held.

The General Elections have been provisionally scheduled for April 2018.

However, most opposition parties, most notably a large coalition called the Rassemblement, has rejected this arrangement and want President Kabila to step down as scheduled.

“Together we must find a solution to Congo’s problems among which the most important remain respecting the constitution, in other words a democratic handover of power,” Olivier Kamitatu, a senior Rassemblement official said during the meeting.

Valentin Mubake, head of the opposition’s delegation to the talks said: “We are here because we are not discouraged. Many of us have skeptical faces, and we’re going to tell them that the constitution must apply. We can’t just change a country’s constitution; we apply it, that’s all.”

“If the talks fail, it is because we won’t have reached consensus. So we will just go ahead and enforce what’s in the constitution. There will be possible agitations here and there but we have seen this before, it’s nothing new and we will manage it as we always have,” said Lambert Mendé, the spokesman of the presidential majority’s delegation

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