DR Congo president Kabila expels leaders of his coalition who urged him to observe term limits

Government spokesman says call by leader's allies shows they have sided with the opposition hence their removal from the presidential majority.

THE leaders of seven political parties in Democratic Republic of Congo were expelled from the ruling coalition after calling on President Joseph Kabila to respect term limits set out in the constitution.

It was clear by the actions of politicians that they side with the opposition, government spokesman Lambert Mende said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

They have “automatically excluded themselves from the presidential majority,” he said.

The opposition on Tuesday organised a rally in the capital, Kinshasa, to demand that Kabila step down at the end of his second term in November 2016.

Violence broke out at the event when a small group of youths armed with sticks attacked the crowd, leading to a stampede and fighting in retaliation.

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 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.

Guaranteeing “an absolute respect for the constitution” is “fundamental,” they 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. (Bloomberg)

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