News / Africa

    Kerry Calls on Congo's Kabila to Honor Constitution

    Kerry Calls on Congo's Kabila to Honor Constitutioni
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    Scott Stearns
    May 04, 2014 8:08 PM
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on Congolese President Joseph Kabila to respect his country's constitution and not run for a third term. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from Kinshasa, where the U.S. pledged additional funding for elections and for helping to demobilize fighters in eastern provinces.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on Congolese President Joseph Kabila to respect his country's constitution and not run for a third term. The U.S. is pledging additional funding for elections and for helping to demobilize fighters in eastern provinces.

    Following talks with President Kabila in Kinshasa, Secretary Kerry announced an additional $30 million in support for "transparent and credible" Congolese elections. U.S. officials say that means respecting electoral timetables and constitutional limits that prevent Kabila from seeking a third term in 2016.

    The president's political opponents fear Kabila will again change the constitution to allow another term as he did in 2011.

    Kerry says he believes the president's legacy will be defined by improving security in eastern provinces and putting Congo on a "continued path of democracy."

    "He's a young man with an enormous amount of time to be able to continue to contribute to his country," said Kerry. "And I'm quite confident that he will weigh all of those issues as he makes a decision about the future. But clearly the United States of America believes that a country is strengthened, that people have respect for their nation and their government, when a constitutional process is properly implemented and upheld by that government."

    Kerry commended the Kabila government's work to combat ethnic militia in eastern Kivu provinces and said the Obama administration will continue to help improve standards of living there.

    "Lasting peace will not grow out of the barrel of the gun. It will come from restoring state authority and state services and providing the capacity-building that is necessary in those areas that have been recaptured from armed groups," said Kerry.

    Much of the turmoil in Congo's east stems from the upheaval of the Rwandan genocide 20 years ago and two wars against the government in Kinshasa, the first of which brought the president's father Laurent Kabila to power.

    Kerry said it is important that Congo and its eastern neighbors Uganda and Rwanda follow through on demobilizing those combatants that qualify for amnesty while holding to account their leaders.

    "People who may have been engaged in crimes against humanity, war crimes, those people remain liable for that. But others who sign the agreement and sign the amnesty are permitted to and encouraged obviously, must return to their homes," he said.

    U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes former Senator Russ Feingold says the Obama administration is working with Congolese authorities to establish mixed-courts at trial and appellate levels that would have a majority of Congolese jurists but would also include other African judges.

    Those courts would be empanelled to try leaders of groups such as the M23 militia, which the United States says was backed by Rwanda, as well as the FDLR, which includes some of those who led Rwanda's genocide.

    Rwandan President Paul Kagame says demobilizing Kivu militia must include all of the groups fighting there, including the FDLR. Secretary Kerry says he discussed that issue with President Kabila and says the Congolese leader gave his word that "he has a specific process in mind and timing."

    You May Like

    Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Patric Foryoh from: US
    May 05, 2014 9:33 PM
    There is no way Sierra Leone can get good and stable governance with both an executive president and an executive prime Minister at the same time. For those of us who had the privilege of going close to the movers and shakers of our politics,we are witnesses to the battle royal that was emblematic of the Siaka Stevens/Banja Tejan-Sie reign. Siaka Stevens in his inordinate ambition to usurp power attempted to fundamentally encroach on the preserves of the office of the Governor General. For example,at state functions,Stevens often insisted upon being serenaded by the national anthem upon arrival and departure when that was the exclusive previlege belonging to the office of Governor General. The only thing that prevented public clashes between him and Sir.Banja had to do with the Governor General's calm,tact,discipline,and professionalism.Stevens was a very power hungry thug that did not know his place in the nation's order of precedence. Having watched Ernest Bai Koroma's uncheched lust for power and penchant for publicity and cult of personality,any Putin style arrangement such as the one we saw between him and Dmitry Medvedev remains totally unacceptable because all we will see is rancor.Ernest Bai Koroma is not disciplined enough to submit to any authority except what conforms with his convoluted beliefs.Added to that,the constitution makes it patently clear that the presidential term is limited to two consecutive periods and there should be no attempt to create any caveat. Once his term is up,he should give up power entirely and take a back seat as Ahmed Tejan Kabbah did.Any attempt to resort to constitutional shenanigans that will see him hanging around the purview of power will be resisted with all emphasis at our command and he should not be self-serving to rule out anything to get rid of him that might include the Gaddafi/Doe scenarios.

    Source:
    Mohamed Kutubu Koroma

    by: John Wayne from: Kumbaya
    May 04, 2014 10:38 PM
    The US fomented war in Congo, were complicit in the murder of Laurent Kabila, now they want to lecture and provide "financial support for demobilizing the militias"? Bill Clinton sponsored and provided logistical support for subversion and violation of Congo by Rwanda and Uganda.

    by: Deze Worth from: USA
    May 04, 2014 7:38 PM
    "People who may have been engaged in crimes against humanity, war crimes, I am as guilty as the next guy, because I am a warmonger, those people remain liable for that, including me. But others who sign the agreement and sign the amnesty are permitted to and encouraged obviously, must return to their homes," Kerry said.

    by: Terrence Weedwater from: UK
    May 04, 2014 7:28 PM
    William Robert “Tosh” Plumlee, a former CIA contract pilot who covertly flew munitions for the agency, recently broke down the extensive cover-up of Benghazi, including the program that saw weapons smuggled out of Benghazi by the CIA to terrorists in Syria. Anyone can watch it on YOUTUBE. TIME TO WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

    by: Dr. Lenworth Fukme from: USA
    May 04, 2014 7:20 PM
    It’s become fairly clear that the TPP agreement is in trouble these days (for a variety of reasons). And it appears that President Obama is losing his cool concerning the agreement and its critics. In a press conference with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, President Obama lashed out at TPP critics, calling them “conspiracy theorists” whose criticism “reflects lack of knowledge of what is going on in the negotiations.” Oh really?


    If you take an issue like drugs, for example, the United States does extraordinary work in research and development, and providing medical breakthroughs that save a lot of lives around the world. Those companies that make those investments in that research oftentimes want a return, and so there are all kinds of issues around intellectual property and patents, and so forth.

    At the same time, I think we would all agree that if there’s a medicine that can save a lot of lives, then we’ve got to find a way to make sure that it’s available to folks who simply can’t afford it as part of our common humanity. And both those values are reflected in the conversations and negotiations that are taking place around TPP. So the assumption somehow that right off the bat that’s not something we’re paying attention to, that reflects lack of knowledge of what is going on in the negotiations.

    But my point is you shouldn’t be surprised if there are going to be objections, protests, rumors, conspiracy theories, political aggravation around a trade deal. You’ve been around long enough, Chuck — that’s true in Malaysia; it’s true in Tokyo; it’s true in Seoul; it’s true in the United States of America — and it’s true in the Democratic Party.

    Um. You know why those complaining may “lack knowledge of what is going on in the negotiations”? Perhaps it’s because the USTR — a part of the Obama White House — has insisted that the entire negotiations take place in complete secrecy with no transparency at all. If President Obama doesn’t want conspiracy theories about the agreement, and wishes that its critics were more informed about the negotiations, he can change that today by instructing the USTR to release its negotiating positions and promise to make all future negotiating positions public.

    But he won’t do that. Why? Because the USTR has admitted that if the public knew what was going on with the TPP, it wouldn’t support the agreement. And so the negotiations continue in secret. And President Obama gets frustrated about a lack of knowledge and conspiracy theories? Really?

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees with Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees with Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.