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Take Action: Strong DRC Legislation Needed Immediately

The Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo) is barreling towards another national crisis that would send ripple effects throughout Africa’s Great Lakes region. Congo’s government recently announced plans to hold elections on December 23, 2018 but restrictions to political space, continued harassment and intimidation of pro-democracy civil society groups, and concerns with potential logistic and security vulnerabilities in electronic voting technology undermine the process.

In addition, Kabila has telegraphed strong signals that he is preparing to put his name on the ballot.  Kabila’s candidacy would violate both the constitution as well as previous commitments he has made including when the Catholic Church in Congo, known by the French acronym CENCO, helped broker a deal between the regime and the opposition that allowed Kabila to remain in power until December 2017.  According to this agreement, Kabila was required to step down and allow for the election of a new president. However, in October 2017, following the visit of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, the Congolese government announced a new electoral calendar, again delaying the elections by one year.

The registration period for Presidential candidates begins on July 25 and concludes on August 8.  However, candidates may informally announce their intent to run prior to the opening of the official registration period.  The next several weeks represent a critical window for action in order to send a clear message to Kabila that his candidacy is not acceptable and exert pressure in order to prevent his name from appearing on the ballot.

Congress has a critical role to play as a bipartisan group from both the House and Senate have been engaged in a process to introduce legislation regarding the current political crisis in the Congo. We need to support their efforts and urge them to immediately introduce this legislation.

.@RepEdRoyce @RepEliotEngel @RepChrisSmith @RepKarenBass Thank you for being champions for peace & democracy in the #DRC. Please take immediate action & introduce strong legislation to ensure a fair election in #Congo #RDC #StopKabilaNow