Congo president Kabila's own coalition now urges him to ‘absolutely respect’ term limits

Intervention by leader’s allies raises the stakes ahead of planned demonstrations by the opposition who say election plan allows him to stay in power.

SEVEN parties belonging to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s ruling coalition called on President Joseph Kabila to respect the nation’s constitution and nominate a candidate to run as his successor, adding to a growing number of voices urging him to abide by the charter’s term limits.

The so-called G7 group called on Kabila to identify someone from within the coalition to contest next year’s presidential elections, saying doubts have been raised over his intention to stand down, according to a letter distributed in the capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday and whose authenticity was confirmed by Planning Minister Olivier Kamitatu, one of its signatories.

The intervention by Kabila’s own Alliance for a Presidential Majority comes before demonstrations by opposition groups in the city later in the day.

“The fundamentals of a developing nation do not come from one man, but from all citizens sharing the same values and moving in the same direction,” the group said in the letter.

Kabila should abandon plans for local elections in the next six months and focus on organising provincial and senatorial elections before parliamentary and presidential votes in November 2016, it said.

Congo, Africa’s biggest copper producer and the world’s largest source of cobalt, next month plans to hold the first of six elections that will culminate in the vote for a new president. Opposition groups say that the packed election programme is designed to fail and allow Kabila to extend his presidency beyond a second term, which the constitution stipulates should be his final one.

The creation of 21 new provinces has weakened the state and led to “anarchy” in the administration of the regions, the party members said.

Guaranteeing “an absolute respect for the constitution” is “fundamental,” they said.

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