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DRC Opposition Patriotic Party Blames Government Over Escalating Violence

Democratic Republic of Congo opposition Patriotic Front party is blaming President Joseph Kabila's government over the escalating violence in the country following recent clashes between the national army and rebels loyal to renegade army General Laurent Nkunda. The opposition party is also calling on the international community to put pressure on the government to negotiate with the rebels and other opposition parties to resolve the violence. The criticism comes after Nkunda threatened Tuesday to take his eastern guerrilla war to the capital, Kinshasa unless the government agrees to direct negotiations on the country's future. But the government dismissed Nkunda's threat as nonsensical.

Doctor Mbwebwe Kabamba is a leading member of the opposition Patriotic front party. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Kinshasa that President Kabila is making the same mistake former President Mobutu Seseseko committed by refusing to hold negotiations with the rebels.

"My party's position is to say first of all we are not surprised because we didn't participate in the last election, and we are cannot rely on all the institutions that are in this country. And they have been saying this for a very long time ago. So now if there is trouble in the east of the country and Nkunda is trying to dismiss all the people in power, we are not surprised by that," Kabamba noted.

He said President Kabila's government has so far failed to address the social problems in the country.

"I would like to tell people that we have so many social problems, which are very serious here in Kinshasa. We have doctors and nurses as well as teachers on general strike and the government is doing nothing about it," he said.

Kabamba said the escalated violence is a result of the government's failure to resolve the political problems, which he claimed have degenerated into violence.

"I think that we should have a talk because this is a political problem. I remember during Mobutu's time, we had exactly the same scenario. In other words when Mobutu was in power, Laurent Kabila was coming with his rebels and at that time they asked President Mobutu to talk to Kabila, but he didn't t like that. But when he realized it, it was too late and it was the end of his system, "Kabamba pointed out.

He said the national army is not in a position to defend the nation.

"I'm sorry to see that today, we have problems with our army and the government is aware of this problem and it is trying to keep a hard position or being in a hard-line position and knowing pretty well that we don't have an army that can face Nkunda's soldiers for the time been," he said.

Kabamba said the world community should impress upon President Kabila's government to resolve the political and escalated violence in the country.

"The international community should pressure the government right now to talk not only with the rebels and Nkunda, but also to all other political parties because we have a very serious social problems here in this country… so the problem is although there is Nkunda's problems there are also serious internal problems that the government does not care about. All other political parties are insisting that we should have a talk," Kabamba said.

He said President Kabila's government needs to do better than it is currently doing.

"I'm saying that President Kabila is involved and the parliament as also involved with the problems because socially speaking after the election people were expecting something different what we are seeing right now. So, now there is no mobilization of the people here to fight Nkunda and this is a fact that people are fed up with the government," he said.

Meanwhile, renegade army general Nkunda has reportedly said he backs the idea of a peace summit between Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, but said this could not be expected to solve east Congo's conflict.