Kinshasa grinds to halt as demonstrators take to the streets

19 September 2016
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manifestation-a-kinshasa2Demonstrators, in their thousands, took to the streets of Kinshasa this morning to protest against the postponement of presidential elections which, according to the DRC constitution, should have been held on 19 September 2016.

 The demonstration is organised by the Tshisekedi-led Rassemblement opposition platform which has boycotted the political dialogue for peaceful elections in the DRC. The dialogue failed to culminate in an agreement. The section of the opposition in the dialogue and the ruling coalition failed to agree on a date for the holding of the presidential elections.

 This morning’s demonstration is a response of the opposition outside of the dialogue to get the regime to organise polls in 2016.

Demonstrators have burnt tires and ransacked headquarters of political parties belonging to the ruling coalition. Most are chanting “Kabila yebela, manda esili” meaning Kabila be advised that you term of office has ended.

 Riot police tried to contain the flow of angry demonstrators using tear-gases and, in reported instances, live ammunitions. The Republican Guard came in reinforcement to the police and is said to have arrested many in neighbourhoods that are the stronghold of the opposition. Scores of demonstrators are reported killed.

Schools and businesses have remained closed as bustling Kinshasa ground to halt. Except for the demonstrators and riot police.

Kabila has been in power since 2001 and is serving what should be his second and final term of office. However, the opposition accuse him of eying another term. The constitutional court ruled that Kabila may remain in office until a new president is elected. The dialogue will culminate in an agreement to government the political dispensation between 2016 and when elections are held.

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