BY Fredrick Ngugi, 6:25am September 20, 2016,

Congolese President To Form Interim Government with Opposition

Congolese President Joseph Kabila with his wife Marie Olive Lembe. Pulse

Outgoing Congolese President Joseph Kabila has agreed to form an interim government with the opposition in an attempt to end the current political standoff, according to Reuters.

Announcing the plan last Wednesday, Congolese Minister for Justice Alexis Thambwe Mwamba said the government had agreed to work with some opposition members on an interim basis as the country works to solve the current dilemma on the election date.

“The government will be redone. We will put in place a government that we will co-manage between the presidential majority, the opposition and civil society,” Mwamba said.

Sorry But No

Wednesday’s announcement to form an interim government has not gone over well with some key opposition members who have been boycotting the talks, saying the agreement is another strategy by President Kabila to justify his desire to extend his rule when his second and final term comes to an end in December.

It is still unclear which opposition members will be forming the ad hoc government, especially considering that earlier last week, the opposition walked out of a meeting held to discuss the appropriate date for the next presidential election.

According to the constitution, the presidential election should be held in November as the incumbent president prepares to hand over power in December. However, Congolese authorities now say the election might be delayed until July next year.

“We have suspended our participation because the positions were diametrically opposed,” opposition representative Samy Badibanga said.

The government insists that the presidential vote should be delayed to allow for local government elections as it does not have the logistical capacity to hold the elections at once — an argument that the opposition feels is meant to further delay the presidential vote.

However, some Congolese opposition leaders appear to have softened their stand, even welcoming the planned interim government.

“This opens the way to a calendar that will mention the exact date of the handover of power between the old president of the republic and the newly elected president,” Vital Kamerhe, an opposition negotiator, said.

Possible Conflict

The continued delay of presidential elections in Congo has left many speculating that the country could be heading back in to civil war.

Observers view the delay as an attempt by the incumbent to extend his reign contrary to the constitution, which bars him from running for a third term.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has never had a peaceful transition of power since its independence in 1960.

President Kabila took over power after his father, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated in 2001. He was officially elected in 2006 and controversially re-elected in 2011.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018

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