Joseph Kabila. Picture: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI
Joseph Kabila. Picture: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI

Kinshasa — The UN on Tuesday called on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government to allow peaceful demonstrations on the eve of expected protests against President Joseph Kabila.

In a statement, the UN peacekeeping mission Monusco urged the authorities "to respect the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Congolese constitution, including freedom of assembly and of demonstration". The authorities, it said, should "instruct defence and security forces to respect the principles of necessity, proportionality and legality, consistent with international standards".

Mineral-rich but chronically poor, politically unstable and saddled with a reputation for entrenched corruption, Congo faces a feared flare-up of violence over Kabila’s decision to stay in office.

He was scheduled to have stepped down in December 2016 after a constitutional maximum of two terms in office.

But as protests and a bloody crackdown swelled, a deal was brokered by the Catholic Church enabling him to stay in office pending elections to be held by the end of this year, but now delayed.

AFP

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