DRC’s Ruling Party Meeting to Discuss President’s Successor Instead Ask Kabila to Contest


President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila
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GOMA – Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) President, Joseph Kabila is meeting members of his ruling coalition to discuss a suitable Presidential candidate his party will front in the December 23 election.

Kabila, who has ruled DR Congo since 2001 following the assassination of his father, has not mentioned whether he would seek a third term or not.

DR Congo, Africa’s biggest copper and cobalt producer, hasn’t seen peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960.

The constitution required President Kabila to step down in 2016 and his refusal to leave power sparked protests across the country.

Opposition politicians and human rights activists accuse Kabila and his allies of planning to extend his rule, deepening the central African nation political crisis.

Candidates for the December 23 presidential election must declare their bid between July 25 and August 1, according to the country’s electoral commission.

An official from Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) told SoftPower News on Wednesday that representatives of party organs had been invited by the President at his farm outside the capital, Kinshasa, for consultations about his possible successor.

“The President has asked representatives of party organs to select four preferred potential candidates,” a top party official who requested not to be named said.

Ferdinand Kambere, the deputy Permanent Secretary of Kabila’s party told the media in Kinshasa on Tuesday that the ruling party is expected to deliver four names to choose from soon.

But government sources say officials asked to select candidates are instead asking President Kabila to run again.

Recently, several senior leaders including the spokesperson of ruling party Alain Atundu have said the President has the right to run in December, arguing a modification adopted in 2011 introduced a completely new constitution which makes Kabila eligible.

Other prominent politicians planning to contest in the presidential poll include Jean-Pierre Bemba and Moise Katumbi – who intend to return to DR Congo to register as presidential candidates.

Bemba, acquitted in June of war crimes at the International Criminal Court, is due to arrive today in Kinshasa while Katumbi, plans to fly to Lubumbashi, his home region in southeastern Congo, before August 8.

A poll released Tuesday by New York University’s Congo Research Group indicate that Katumbi and Felix Tshisekedi, would score best in the election– both securing 19 percent of the vote. Bemba would come third with 17 percent, while 9 percent of voters would choose Kabila.

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