Congo President Joseph Kabila will not seek election for third term

Congo President Joseph Kabila will not seek election for third term

Congo President Joseph Kabila will not seek election for third term

Global pressure had been growing on Kabila and his government over the election delay since late 2016, with the United States in June taking the unusual step of announcing visa bans on several Congolese senior officials but not naming names.

Demonstrations over the delay turned deadly, with Pope Francis and others appealing for calm after police in January used tear gas to disperse ambassadors and others at a mass at Kinshasa's Catholic cathedral to honor protesters killed.

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a statement that she welcomed the announcement but that much more needed to be done to ensure a credible election in December.

After this meeting closed late in the evening, no name had been announced.

Jean-Mobert Senga, Amnesty International's Researcher for the DRC, said a range of concrete measures were still required.

The United States has also criticised plans to use electronic voting in the polls, saying the voting machines could undermine the credibility of the elections.

Their choice was "the conclusion of consultations that the president..., the moral authority of the the Common Front for Congo, undertook to find the rare bird", Mende told journalists.

The selection of Ramazani, however, represents a defiant move by Kabila.

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"Shadary has no special qualities other than absolute loyalty to the current head of state", an analyst at a political NGO, based in Kinshasa, told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Ramazani, dressed in a light suit and flanked by supporters from the coalition, briefly addressed reporters after filing his candidacy later in the afternoon at the headquarters of the national electoral commission in the capital Kinshasa.

Mr Shadary has been a key supporter of Mr Kabila. "The people need peace", he said.

Another source, close to Kabila, said, "It's not a secret any more - it's about naming a candidate for our presidential platform". Congo hasn't had a peaceful transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

His tenure over the vast mineral-rich country has been marked by a reputation for corruption, inequality and unrest.

Many provinces are in the grip of armed conflict and millions have had to flee their homes, many flocking to Uganda, Tanzania, Angola and Zambia.

A surprise candidate is former Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba, fresh from acquittal of war crimes on appeal at the International Criminal Court; he had been convicted for murder, rape and pillaging committed by his Movement for the Liberation of Congo forces in neighboring Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003.

Some 20 candidates, including two former prime ministers - Adolphe Muzito and Samy Badibanga - have submitted their names to the electoral commission. The definitive list of candidates will be published on September 19.

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