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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

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?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs