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Church \ Church in Africa

DRC: Last minute hitches but politicians generally agreed

Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa is the chief mediator. - REUTERS

Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa is the chief mediator. - REUTERS

31/12/2016 18:29

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s draft political agreement is said to be ready but last-minute demands by political parties, relating to the inclusion of some details in the accord, have emerged. Mediators still hope that an agreement can be reached.

If the accord is signed, Congolese President Joseph Kabila will step down after elections to be held by the end of 2017. This is according to the principal mediator of the talks, President of the Congolese Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of Kisangani. Initially, Archbishop Utembi Tapa was confident of a breakthrough until political parties started to introduce new details into the agreement.

Earlier, the Archbishop told the media that, "The government is asked to take all steps so that elections are organised by the end of 2017 at the latest." The Archbishop said. 

Under the deal, Kabila will be unable to change the constitution to allow him to stay in power for a third term. The draft agreement also says that political parties were agreed that Kabila would appoint a new prime minister from the ‘Rassemblement,’ a coalition that gathers most of the opposition.

Election experts, however, question the feasibility of organising presidential, legislative and provincial assembly elections together by the end of 2017.

Kabila's mandate ran out on 19 December, but the DRC’s constitutional court extended it until 2018 because the government said it could not arrange elections before then.

Pope Francis has called on all people in the Democratic Republic of Congo to work for peace. He recently urged them to “be (artisans) authors of reconciliation and peace.”

(Reuters/ADNKR/Vatican Radio) 

31/12/2016 18:29