DR Congo PM: Kabila won’t seek re-election in December

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila will not run in the country’s elections scheduled for December 23, Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala said.

The central African country’s politics has been awash with talk of a possible referendum to change the constitution in order to allow Kabila stay on for longer.

Tshibala said there were no such plans to alter the constitution, which limits a president for only two five year terms.

“There is no initiative to revise the constitution. The constitution limits the presidents mandate. I can confirm the president will not run again,” Tshibala said in an interview with BBC news agency.

Kabila has been in power since 2001, first in an acting capacity after the assassination of Laurent-Désiré Kabila.

His second mandate however ended in December 2016, but he has stayed on in power following the failure by his country to conduct an election to find his replacement.

The country’s electoral authority cited logistical challenges as the reason for the failure to organize the vote.

Opposition leaders however accused Kabila of frustrating the electoral process in order to cling on to power.

He however denied any involvement in the organization of the election.

Tshibala in the interview said Kabila was actually awaiting the December election in order to hand over power peacefully.

“On the contrary, he is waiting for the elections to take place so that he can, for the first time in our country’s history, transfer power in a civilized and peaceful manner,” he said.

The DR Congo has been dogged by increased violence since the failure by Kabila to step down in December 2016, prompting millions to flee their homes in search of refuge.

Self –exiled opposition leader Moise Katumbi last week said he will return to the country to launch his presidential bid ahead of the vote.

He is the first leader this year to declare his interest in the seat.