Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has been warned to end his second term in office on Sunday or risk major violence in the coming days.
Human Rights Watch issued a statement on Friday calling on him to make a public commitment before the end of his second term, respect the constitution and leave office.
“There is a grave risk that Congo could descend into widespread violence and chaos in the coming days, with potentially volatile repercussions across the region,” the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth warned.
He cited as a likelihood of armed conflict: a nationwide mobilization for large-scale demonstrations beginning on December 19 to pressure Kabila to leave office, as well as, leaders of armed groups in the eastern part of the country saying the army and police will no longer be “legitimate” after December 19.
“The country’s brittle security forces could fracture if Kabila relies on force to stay in power, and Congo’s neighboring countries could become involved, as they have during past fighting in Congo,” HRW cautioned.
Kabila is required by constitutional term limits to step down when his second mandate ends on December 19 but a constitutional court ruled that he can stay on until a new successor is elected.
Elections have been postponed to April 2018 after the electoral commission complained of inadequate resources to conduct the process.
The opposition accuse Kabila of manipulating the system to cling on to power, while a faction of the opposition has agreed and through a national dialogue, got one of its members appointed Prime Minister.
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