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Slow start to national shutdown in DRC

23 August 2016, 18:03

Kinshasa – It remained unclear whether Democratic Republic of Congo nationals were going to heed opposition party calls for a national shutdown in the country on Tuesday.

Opposition parties in the central African country demanded that President Joseph Kabila end his rule as president, as mandated in the constitution.

Kabila came into power after the assassination of his father in 2001 and although the constitution stated that a president could only serve for two terms, there have been consistent delays as Kabila clings onto power.

In a tweet by Ugandan radio, Capital Fm, the national shutdown was announced after the African Union-backed talks failed over the weekend. 

According to Africa News, opposition leader Moise Katumbi called on Congolese nationals to stay at home on Tuesday in protest against what he termed a "constitutional breach".

Katumbi further urged people to protest against what he described as a "false and non-inclusive dialogue in the country".

One social media user indicated that some Congolese citizens had answered the call by working from home. 

He claimed that the situation was tense in the central African country.  

But, according to the Voice of America, it was still unclear whether people had heeded to the national shutdown calls.

This was despite Martin Fayulu, leader of the Commitment for Citizenship and Development party and a member of the opposition coalition, claiming that opposition parties would bring the country to a standstill over the delay of the presidential elections. 

Fayulu said that the opposition parties would only participate in a dialogue under the UN Security Council resolution 2277, which called for discussions that respected the Congolese constitution.

The country's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announced recently that it could not hold elections this year due to a number of challenges.

According to Bwiza.com, the electoral body claimed that it would not be able to organise the presidential elections at the end of the year due to lack of funding and delays in the voter registration processes.

CENI further revealed that it could only hold the elections sometime in July 2017.

DRC has never had a democratic transition of power in its 56 years of independence from Belgium.

- News24


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