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Kabila hints of possibility of a ‘third term’ during meeting with UN

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A delegation of the United Nations (UN) Security Council arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Friday to meet the government over political and security developments in the country.

They arrived on Friday evening and on Saturday morning met with Congolese Prime Minister, August in Matata-Ponyo according to reports from the president’s office in DR Congo.

They went on to meet the head of state Joseph Kabila and other members of the government. On the subject of the president not standing for another term in office, Kabila affirmed that the current constitution did not allow a third term but said a constitutional amendment to that effect was not illegal.

Among other things the UN implored the government to respect the rights of citizens and opponents to protest. They also stressed that it was important for the authorities to be fully aware of their responsibilities in achieving a peaceful transition in the country.

A ban on political demonstrations in Kinshasa, led the opposition coalition, the Rally, to cancel a demonstration scheduled for 5 November. The UN team also urged the Congolese authorities to re-establish the signal of the French radio station RFI, which was cut nearly a week ago.

The UN mission, which intends to help the DRC to return to the path of political stability, believes that it has “gone through all the political issues to better understand the roadmap”, said the Angolan diplomat on the team, Ismael Abraao Gaspar Martins.

Ahead of this visit, Human Rights Watch, had sent a letter to the UN body urging it to urge Joseph Kabila to withdraw at the end of his mandate (in December 2016).

The NGO also called for urgent implementation of targeted sanctions against intelligence and security officials and government officials responsible for violent repression and other serious violations of human rights.

Meanwhile, DR Congo Prime Minister Matata Ponyo resigned on Monday  as part of the national dialogue framework agreement which stipulates that an opposition leader takes the position of Prime Minister.

The agreement was signed in October by the ruling party and some opposition parties endorsing the 2018 presidential election date proposed by the electoral commission and for President Joseph Kabila to remain in office till then.

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“I tender my resignation as the Prime Minister and that of members of my government to meet the spirit and letter of the agreement,” Augustin Matata Ponyo said at the end of an audience with President Kabila.

Matata who has been the Prime Minister since 2012, said his government has done a “valuable work with a positive picture of the economy”.

“From the macroeconomic point of view we have achieved unprecedented performances in terms of exchange rate stability, even though in the last few months there have been [some] upheavals linked in particular to the international crisis,” he added.

The president is expected to address the nation on Tuesday in front of the congress, leader of the majority and president of the National Assembly Aubin Minaku announced.

The political agreement signed under the watch of the African Union-appointed facilitator Edem Kodjo, was endorsed by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who called for a “peaceful transition for peaceful elections.”

However, the agreement was opposed by the major opposition coalition which described it as non-inclusive and promised to protest till Kabila steps down when his mandate originally ends in December.

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