Protests planned over Kabila fresh term 'bid'

There is speculation that President Joseph Kabila intends to vie in the November 2016 elections.

Friday February 12 2016

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila (holding trophy) poses with the country's national football team to celebrate winning the 2016 African Nations Championship on February 9, 2016. PHOTO | FILE

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila (holding trophy) poses with the country's national football team to celebrate winning the 2016 African Nations Championship on February 9, 2016. PHOTO | FILE 

Plans to stage protests against President Joseph Kabila’s third term bid have been finalised.

The leader, currently serving his second term has not yet publicly announced his intention to vie in the November 2016 election but there is speculation that he will.

Organisers of the protests want citizens to observe a day of villes-mortes (dead cities) on February 16 to pile pressure on President Kabila.

Earlier, there were plans to hold mass pro-democracy marches but that changed after the powerful Catholic Church withdrew its support last month, saying the event had been politicised.

DRAFT LAW

Although President Kabila is bound by the Constitution to step down in December 2016 after serving two consecutive terms since 2001, opposition groups have accused him of trying to postpone the November 2016 election to tinker with the law on presidential term limits.

The opposition opposes a draft law that would enable president Kabila to extend his rule.

The central African country is bracing itself for a series of rallies organised by Citizen Front 2016, a loose coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups, with a march scheduled for February 16.

The group is urging citizens to paralyse operations in all towns and villages.

Previous protests were met with brutal government repression across the mineral-rich nation.

Opposition leader, Charles Mwando Simba, urged workers to keep away from work on the protest day and parents to avoid taking their children to school.

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