DR Congo leader Joseph Kabila announces he’ll stay on after his term formally expires.
DRC PRESIDENT EXTENDS MANDATE
On Monday, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila will remain in power beyond the last official day of his second term.
The constitution bars Kabila from participating in the next election, which was to be held last month. Citing supposed difficulties in registering millions of new voters, the government has delayed the election until April 2018. The constitutional court approved this decision in October.
While the opposition has called the decision a ploy to retain control, it has agreed not to stage protests on Monday, but a disenchanted population may still take to the streets. In May, protests over Kabila’s term extension resulted in violence, killing more than 50. Fearing a reprisal, Congolese authorities will block social media platforms starting Monday, and police in Kinshasa will search cars at specified checkpoints.
Any protests are unlikely to prevent Kabila’s extended term. Talks mediated by the Vatican – which seek to ensure Kabila does not amend the constitution for a third term – may represent the best hope for Congolese democracy.