Anger as DRC expels “undesirable” AmericanFrom JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – AN extensive onslaught against voices critical of the government of Joseph Kabila has emerged ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for the restive Democratic Republic of Congo later this year.
Opposition to Kabila’s plans to extend his stay on power beyond the end of his constitutionally-mandated two-term limit have culminated in authorities and security force officers silencing dissenting voices.
Among the critics to bear the brunt is Jason Stearns, a widely respected and well-known researcher, scholar, and expert who has worked on the country for the past 15 years, who has been expelled from the country.
Government officials claimed he has been expelled for his ‘undesirability’, and also raised concerns about a report his
organization, the Congo Research Group, recently published about massacres in the Beni region of eastern Congo.
The 39-year-old American-born Stearns has extensively highlighted the violations in the region and has been a United Nations Group of Experts on the Congo, a panel responsible for researching support and financing of armed groups.
Human rights groups have denounced his expulsion.
“Human Rights Watch strongly condemns the expulsion of Jason Stearns from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This comes in the context of a broader crackdown against critical voices of the government,” the organisation stated.
There is stiff resistance to Kabila’s plans to extend his term at the helm of the diamond-rich country.
Security force officers have fired at peaceful demonstrators, arrested and intimidated activists and opposition supporters ahead of polls set for November.
– CAJ News
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