Tomorrow marks the start of the National Dialogue, as called for by the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Joseph Kabila. The dialogue is intended to cover 11 topics, mainly focused on political and electoral issues. According to the Constitution of the DRC, national elections are to be held on November 19, 2016, and President Kabila is to step down on December 19. However, the vast majority of the opposition is not participating in the dialogue. Furthermore, the Secretary General of one of the only opposition parties that is participating in the dialogue, Jean-Bertrand Ewanga of the Union Pour la Nation Congolaise (UNC), resigned today citing that the dialogue was a ploy to extend President Kabila's term. On August 20, the Congolese Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said that elections would not be held on time.
The Enough Project issued the following statements regarding the start of the Dialogue:
Sasha Lezhnev, Enough Project Associate Director of Policy, said: “As it is currently organized without civil society or most of the opposition, the dialogue cannot deliver on ensuring a democratic transition in Congo. The U.S. and European Union should enact targeted sanctions and other financial pressure on President Kabila's inner circle until he announces he will step down and hold timely, free, and fair elections.”
Annie Callaway, Enough Project Advocacy and Activist Manager, said: “The dialogue can only be successful if it meaningfully includes Congolese civil society and opposition groups and focuses on ensuring that free and fair elections are held as soon as possible. The United States and European Union must not allow a poorly constituted dialogue to overshadow grave concerns about the Kabila regime's broader strategy of undermining democracy and human rights. The Congolese people have fought hard for their Constitution, and it is critical that it is upheld and supported.”
About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.