While serving a prison sentence for crimes against humanity, the former Congolese Vice-President, Jean Pierre Bemba called yesterday, October 30th for the mobilization of political forces to prepare for political alternation in the DRC.
Although incarcerated in Europe, Bemba remains an observer of Congolese politics. From The Hague, in the Netherlands, where he is serving an 18-year prison sentence for crimes against humanity, war crimes and witness tampering, he has left his silence to speak about the situation in his country . In a statement released on October 30, the former Congolese vice president called for a “grand coalition of social forces and political leaders” to demand “democratic alternation” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The agreements of Sun City and Lusaka, which put an end to the second Congo war, “were the landmarks where the Congolese have recorded that never again in the DRC there was to be tolerated a dictatorship, never again it was not to exercise illegitimate power, “according to Jeune Afrique.
His stance comes as the political crisis that has rocked the DRC for more than a year seems to drag on. The second and last term of President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, ended on December 19th, 2016, and the Constitution does not allow him to run again.
Under the terms of the New Year’s Eve agreement reached between the government and the opposition on December 31, 2016 under the auspices of the Catholic Church, presidential, legislative and local elections are planned by the end of 2017 at the latest. This agreement was to prevent further violence after the maintenance of power of the head of state.
Apart from that, on October 10th, the Electoral Commission (CENI) expressed a need an additional 504 days to complete the enlistment of voters in the Kasai. This effectively pushes the elections in the first quarter of 2019. This announcement sparked the Congolese opposition.
“It is clear that the power in place is organized so that elections do not take place, writes Jean-Pierre Bemba. CENI, to whom we have delegated the physical organization of the polls, seems to be hindering by maneuvers to this process for the benefit of a group of people plunging our country into total uncertainty “.
The coalition of political forces he calls for to remedy this situation “should not serve personal ambitions and political calculations but should rather be a national mobilization to defend the Constitution of the Republic is the democratic gains,” continues Jean-Pierre Bemba.
Bemba is convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes as a hierarchical authority, and has already been sentenced to 18 years in prison on 21 June 2016; and then was sentenced to one year with fine of 300,000 euros tampering witness.