Not less than 300 people, some of whom are opposition leaders, remain in detention in Democratic Republic of Congo after protests in January, reinforcing concerns that President Joseph Kabila is planing to cling to power beyond his legal mandate.
Reuters report: “Kabila is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term next year after winning disputed elections in 2006 and 2011.
With growing signs of popular opposition to any attempt to prolong Kabila’s mandate in the vast central African country, his ruling coalition has been weakened by a string of high-profile defections, particularly in his home province of Katanga.
In four days of anti-government protests last month, security forces killed at least 40 people and parliament was forced to drop plans to require a census before next year’s vote that critics said was aimed at delaying the election and keeping Kabila in power.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has expressed alarm over a wave of detentions prompted by the protests, saying some prisoners had been held for three weeks with no access to a lawyer.”