The governor of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province is facing increased pressure to leave office.
Area resident Oda Kabetsi says people in the region blame Governor Julien Paluku Kahongya for the poor infrastructural development and high youth unemployment in their province.
“There is no infrastructural development as you can see here. They destroyed the only main road we had and now there is nothing,” said Kabetsi. “There is dust everywhere and people do not know how to manage.”
The main road in the provincial capital Goma has been under construction for some time. Residents say the project’s delay is causing health risks and hampering burgeoning businesses in the area.
For the past few weeks, North Kivu residents have demanded the resignation of Governor Kahongya and his entire administration for failing to provide adequate security in the area. They have vowed to continue their efforts until their demands are met.
President Joseph Kabila has dispatched a fact-finding mission to help resolve the impasse in the province. Residents say they have yet to see the results of the commission’s work.
Kabetsi said those demanding the resignation of the governor have legitimate grievances.
“Like this problem of water and electricity. Like in my house now there has been no water in the last month,” said Kabetsi.
But, Lambert Mende, Congo’s information minister said the resignation demands is a calculated attempt by opponents of the provincial governor to undermine his administration ahead of the general elections, scheduled for November.
“It is the provincial opposition that is attacking the provincial government. So, it is democracy as usual,” said Mende.
He said his government’s efforts have resulted in “major” improvement in the security situation in North Kivu province.