• DRC opposition calls strike against delayed election

The streets of Kinshasa were empty of people and vehicles on Wednesday as a general strike protesting President Joseph Kabila’s decision to cling to power took hold.

The capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo is usually a bustling mass of motorbikes, cars, buses and pedestrians but most businesses and schools were closed.

“We warned that all shops should remain closed,” Nicholas Lupetu, a senior member of the opposition Congolese Rally for Democracy, told Anadolu Agency. “We also told school administrators that the schools should not open.

“I am glad to inform the world that the shops in Kinsahsa are closed and schools are not operating. Our strike has started.”

A group of opposition parties called the strike in a bid to persuade Kabila to step down in December, when his two-term mandate ends. The ruling coalition and some smaller parties agreed on Saturday to delay elections that had been due next month until April 2018.

The country’s top court approved the decision, which was purportedly made to allow millions of voters to be registered but which the opposition says is a ploy to give Kabila more time in office.

Demonstrations against the postponed election last month in Kinshasa saw more than 30 people killed and led to accusations of police brutality by human rights groups.

On Wednesday, some of the capital’s shop owners said they had closed for fear of looting.

The UN mission, MONUSCO, reinforced its presence in Kinshasa in anticipation of potential violence.

“It is true our forces are in Kinshasa to protect the civilians and their property,” spokesman Felix Prosper Basse told Anadolu Agency. “They are there for security reasons.”

 

19.10.2016 16:37
Category Africa