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Congo’s Kabila won’t change constitution to extend mandate , new deal

As Congo prepares for a general election likely to be held by the end of the year, a new deal was on Dec.30 struck by political parties for President Joseph Kabila to step down paving way for the first peaceful transition of power in the central African nation.  

“The government is asked to take all steps so that the elections are organized by the end of 2017 at the latest,” said Marcel Utembi, president of Congo’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which mediated the talks that culminated into signing a deal that will end Kabila’s 15 year rule  if he sticks to it.

According to the deal, the constitution which provides for the president serving only two terms will not be amended and that a prime minister from the country’s main opposition bloc will oversee the transition.

Kabila’s term ended on Dec.19 but has since been extended awaiting polls. However, a section of the people are worried that the leader who came to power in 2001 after the assassination of his father might want to stick around.

As a result, several protests have been experienced leading to loss of lives.  Neither Kabila nor the country’s leading opposition leader, Etienne Tshisekedi took part in the deal which according to the mediators was meant to ensure transparency.

Some analysts, however, say the two groups may reject some of the terms in the agreement.


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