As the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) might witness political instability due to a possible delay to the presidential election, scheduled for this November, IBTimes UK speaks with a prominent Congolese activist who is calling on the whole world to pay closer attention to human right abuses occurring in his homeland.
Who is John Mpaliza?
John Mpaliza was born in eastern DRC in 1969. Following increasing violence and instability, he left the country in the 1990s and moved to Italy. When he visited DRC in 2009, Mpaliza found out he had lost his father while one of his sisters and several cousins had gone missing. He explained that this is a very common situation in the eastern part of DRC, where abuses are still carried out by militants as well as government troops.
Following his 2009 trip, Mpaliza founded a movement to highlight human right abuses occurring in the African nation. The activist has become famous worldwide after organising marches across Europe during which he meets as many people as he can to discuss possible ways to help DRC.
Known as the Peace Walking Man, he is now planning a march in Africa.
Mpaliza is among those who believe incumbent President Joseph Kabila, due to step down this November after serving two terms in office since 2001, might try to hold on to power.
The activist warned this might cause further instability in the African nation and called on the international community to urge Kabila to respect the constitution.
Kabila is bound by the constitution to step down. The leader has not made a public statement on his future political career, but his spokesperson has always maintained the president respects the constitution.
Kabila said the election should be postponed, arguing that the country was not ready and more time was needed to revise voter rolls and raise funds. Earlier in December, the leader called for dialogue with the opposition. However, his proposition was rejected by some opposition groups who argued it was a way for Kabila to cling on to power.
In recent developments, a timetable purportedly prepared by the country's electoral commission (CENI) suggested that presidential election could be delayed by a minimum of 13 months and 10 days. In an exclusive report by IBTimes UK, opposition leader Moise Katumbi rejected the possible election delay.
IBTimes UK has contacted the Congolese embassy in London for a statement on Mpaliza's allegations and Kabila's future political career, but has not received a response at the time of publishing.
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