Opposition groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have rejected President Joseph Kabila's call to initiate an inclusive dialogue before presidential election in 2016. During a televised speech on 28 November, he said talks with opposition are necessary before the country heads to the polls in November 2016.
However, opposition groups claimed Kabila's calls for dialogue are a way for him to cling on to power. Although the president is bound by the constitution to step down as he has served two consecutive terms since 2001, he has been accused of trying to postpone the election and amend term limits.
G7 and La Dynamique – groups of parties within the coalition – released a joint statement rejecting Kabila's invitation. "Kabila is no longer hiding his clear, planned and deliberate intention to overturn the constitution to maintain power," the statement read. It is a true constitutional coup d'etat. We say no to dialogue, no to a transitional government, no to constitutional changes, no to a referendum."
However, DRC's main opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), has been in talks with the government to initiate a dialogue that, Kabila said, will focus on funding for the election as well as setting a new date for the polls.
The election in 2016 could represent the first democratic transition of power after decades of civil war, political instability and deadly coups in DRC. Kabila has not made a public statement on his future political career but his spokesperson has always maintained the president respects the constitution.
The president also said the election should be postponed arguing the country was not ready and more time was needed to revise voter rolls and raise funds. He made the comment as elections for councillors and provincial deputies scheduled for October were cancelled after the constitutional court ruled budgetary and logistical restrictions made the deadline unattainable.
Check out our Flipboard magazine - Democratic Republic of Congo 2016 election by IBTimes UK In this series on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, IBTimes UK takes a closer look at the eastern regions of South and North Kivu where civilians are still at the mercy of armed groups and the Congolese armed forces, who have all been accused of committing serious war crimes.