The U.S. has warned President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo that “the time for posturing is over”, over his failure to publicly state that he will not run for re-election in a planned December election.
Kabila said in a speech on July 18, said that presidential election would hold in December, but he declined to say whether he would defy term limits to stand for re-election.
Some of his allies have in recent weeks advanced a legal argument they say would justify his candidacy.
“He is not eligible under Congolese law to seek a third term. The U. S. regrets that President Kabila did not use his July 19th address to parliament to resolve the uncertainty regarding his intentions,” Deputy UN Ambassador Jonathan Cohen told the Security Council.
International pressure on Kabila, who succeeded his assassinated father in 2001, to leave office has grown since a November 2016 election was postponed.
That sparked violent protests in which security forces have killed dozens of people.
The U.S. and European Union have sanctioned several close Kabila allies accused of overseeing the crackdowns
and obstructing the electoral process, moves Kabila denounced.
The UN Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council on July 20, jointly “called upon all political parties, their supporters, and other political actors to remain committed to the
Dec. 31, 2016 Agreement, which is the only viable path out of the current political situation.”
Under an accord struck on Dec. 31 between Kabila’s representatives and opposition leaders, Kabila is barred
from trying to change the constitution to seek a third term.
“President Kabila has committed repeatedly to respect the constitution and implement the December 2016 agreement.
“We’re a mere five months away from election day. The time for posturing is over,” Cohen said.
France and the U.S. questioned Congolese plans to use untested electronic voting machines and pushed authorities to state what assistance they need from the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, to organise the polls.
“MONUSCO cannot afford to wait until the last moment to put a plan into action,” Cohen said.
Kabila put off a planned visit earlier this month by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and refused to see U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who diplomats said had also separately planned to visit Kinshasa.
Diplomats said the UN Security Council envoys are planning to visit Congo in October. (Reuters/NAN)