25, December 2016
The opposition and the government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have agreed on a deal to allow President Joseph Kabila remain in office for an additional year in return for not seeking a third term, the opposition has announced. “Kabila stays for one year,” opposition leader Martin Fayulu said on Friday, adding, “He will not try to stand for a new term.”
The unexpected deal between the opposing sides came after dozens of people were killed in anti-government protests this week. The United Nations (UN) said on Friday that some 40 people were killed. A government spokesman declined to comment on the specifics of the deal, which requires final approval by all the delegates at negotiations mediated by the country’s Catholic Church. Jean Marc Kabund, the secretary general of the DR Congo’s largest opposition party, the UDPS, warned that the deal was not yet closed. “Today is the last day (of talks),” he said, adding, “It’s make it or break it.”
President Kabila’s second term in office expired on Tuesday. According to the constitution, a new president must be elected now. However, Kabila has remained in office as a presidential election scheduled for last month was postponed because of what the government said were delays in registering voters.
Kabila has been accused of trying to cling on to power. His supporters, however, say that he is committed to the constitution but stepping down from power would possibly spark a power struggle that could put his life in danger.
His father, former president Laurent Kabila, was assassinated in 2001 in the country, which has never witnessed a peaceful transition of power.He took office just ten days after the assassination of his father.
The protests and killings this week have raised fears that the African state is headed toward more instability and a major conflict.