US mulls sanctions over DRC crisis
From JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE United States looks increasingly likely to impose sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo administration of President Joseph Kabila, accused of negotiating in bad faith in the proposed dialogue to ease tensions ahead of elections mired in uncertainty.
The vast central African country is beset by renewed political crises following indications Kabila would extend his reign in violation of the constitution.
Critics have resisted such plans, culminating in a growing pattern of intimidation, harassment, and detention of members of the opposition and civil society leaders across the country.
Among these include a former ally of Kabila, Moise Katumbi, who has emerged as the leader of a coalition aiming to challenge Kabila for the presidency.
He was reportedly in South Africa for medical treatment following injuries sustained during recent skirmishes with government forces.
The violations ironically come at a time the government has proposed dialogue before elections, initially scheduled before the end of the year but increasingly looking likely to be deferred.
“A government cannot call for dialogue among all stakeholders while simultaneously harassing, arresting and jailing those individuals expected to participate,” Mark Toner, Deputy Department Spokesperson, said from Washington.
He called for an end to violence and for all sides to participate in a credible dialogue.
The United States is reviewing the possibility of imposing sanctions in response to this growing pattern of repression in the DRC, where Kabila has been in power since 2001.
– CAJ News
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