The government of mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has adopted a draft constitutional text as the country prepares to amend and review the Constitution before the upcoming elections – an amendment analysts and opposition politicians fear might pave the way for President Joseph Kabila to seek a third term in office.
The draft includes three laws, one of which proposes that members of the Senate and regional governors be elected by local officials to cut the cost and reduce the budget of the elections, Paris-based Afrikarabia reports.
But critics have slammed this law, saying that it will lead to corruption and buying of votes.
Critics’ biggest fear is to see Article 220 of the Constitution amended to make way for 43-year-old Kabila to be re-elected and get another term in office. This is the second time that the country’s Constitution has been amended before the elections, the first time was in 2011 to make way for the elections be held only in one round instead of two as it is done universally.
Though the president, in power since 2001, has kept mum about his decision to stand or not, sources close to the ruling PPRD have confirmed that Kabila wants to get another bite of power, despite the US government’s repeated warnings that he should respect the Constitution and step aside.
Municipal elections are due to be held in 2015, while the legislative and presidential poll is scheduled for 2016. But will the latter take place? That is a one-million dollar question many observers are asking day and night.
Speculation is rife in the streets of Kinshasa, Paris, Johannesburg, Brussels and London that the president might deliberately delay the elections to remain in power indefinitely.
A source close to the ruling PPRD told Moon of the South: “It’s unfair to put pressure on the president to say whether he will stand or not. Mobutu stayed 32 years in power, nobody complained. JK is young and ambitious and has big plans for the Congolese people, they must let him continue rebuilding the country.”
Time will telll.
Photo: DRC President Joseph Kabila. Credit: Creative Commons/Afrikarabia