UN urges DRC to allow anti-Kabila protests

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The United Nations has called upon the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to allow peaceful protests against the country’s president.

Opposition and civil society groups are expected to hold anti-government demonstrations tomorrow, raising concerns of a backlash from security forces in the politically volatile country. Which has prompted the UN to urge the government to show restrained should the protests go ahead.

UN calls on DRC authorities

The UN peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO has called on authorities in the DRC to allow people in the country to express their political concerns peacefully. In a statement issued on Tuesday, MONUSCO urged the government to “respect the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Congolese Constitution, including freedom of assembly and of demonstration”.

It also called on authorities to “instruct defence and security forces to respect the principles of necessity, proportionality and legality, consistent with international standards”.

Fears are growing over an outbreak of violence in the DRC as anger over President Joseph Kabila’s extended rein continues to spread.

Tension in the DRC

On Sunday, the electoral commission said it will not be able to hold an election until December 23, 2018. Which means Kabila could remain in office for another 14 months, after holding onto power for the past 16 years already.

A number of critics accuse the president of refusing to relinquish power while some suspect he will attempt to change the constitution to allow him to run again in the next election.

Following the electoral commission’s announcement, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi called for protests, writing on Twitter that the election commission’s calendar “will sound the death knell of the regime”.

Featured image: “Le Président de la République, Joseph Kabila, a pris la parole hier jeudi 25 septembre, à la 69e assemblée générale de l’Onu qui s’est tenue à New-York” flickr photo by MONUSCO https://flickr.com/photos/monusco/15334828496 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.