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DR Congo Debates to Amend or Not to Amend Constitution

  • James Butty

DRC Communication minister and government spokesman, Lambert Mende (file photo)

DRC Communication minister and government spokesman, Lambert Mende (file photo)

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s information minister said his country, as a democratic nation, is having an intellectual and political debate about whether to change the constitution or not.

But Lambert Mende said unlike what happened in Burkina Faso where President Blaise Campaore asked the parliament to amend the constitution so he could extend his 27 year-rule, there is no institutional initiative in the DRC to change the constitution.

This came as over 2,000 people demonstrated over the weekend against what they say is an attempt by President Joseph Kabila to amend the constitution so he can run for a third term.

Mende said the process taking place in the DRC is different from what took place in Burkina Faso.

“Nobody has heard President Kabila saying that he’s going to change the constitution. As a democratic country, we are having an intellectual and political debate about the changing or not changing the constitution,” he said.

According to DRC constitution, President Kabila cannot seek another term after his term ends in 2016.

Mende said Congolese can and should speak freely about the future of their country. But as far as institutions are concerned, no initiative has been taken.

“Our constitution is a democratic one like the one in the USA. We are just speaking my dear. We are intellectuals; we are politicians; we are free to speak. Nobody can come here and stop us from speaking. We are speaking as free men and free women,” Mende said.

He ridiculed the suggestion that what happened in Burkina Faso, where President Campaore was forced out power by angry protesters, can also happen President Kabila.

“My dear, Burkina is Burkina and Congo is Congo. You are talking about two situations totally different. There has been an institutional initiative in Burkina (Faso) from the president, from the parliament. There is no institutional initiative in Congo, from the president, from the parliament, or from the government. The two situations are totally different,” Mende said.

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