The Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) information minister says the presidential election will be held as originally scheduled in the constitution, contrary to media reports that the poll could be delayed.
Opposition parties have accused President Joseph Kabila of trying to extend his term through a proposed law that would require completion of a national census before elections are held.
Information Minister Lambert Mende said main opposition leader Vital Kamerhe is to blame for peddling rumors that the election would be postponed.
“What Mr. Kamerhe is saying is not true that the constitution is forbidding that any election be organized before or after the day of the end of the presidential mandate. I was saying that it is false he didn’t read the constitution [well], because if we lose our president if an accident occurs the constitution has already given provision that the election can be organized before the end of [the presidential] mandate,” said Mende.
Mende added it appears opponents of the government are misinforming the public to embarrass the administration.
“Yes it is what we have witnessed for I think one year or one year-and-a-half. This opposition led by Kamerhe is trying to confuse the public in Congo, I don’t know why,” said Mende.
He said the constitution also mandates the electoral commission to seek permission for a new date from the Constitutional Court to enable time if the electoral body is unable to meet the requirement to organize a fresh presidential poll.
“Let people not tell [untruth] to the people,” said Mende. “The government is ready to help the electoral commission to organize the election at the date that is written in the constitution. So, what the leader of the constitution is saying is not true.”
He called on the opposition not to create tensions, which he said could create instability.
“We are asking them to cool the situation. We are asking them not to make the people of Congo [afraid],” said Mende. “I don’t think what is the interest of real patriotic politicians to make their own people [afraid] it is something that we really blame them, [but] lucky enough we have enough mature people who are not following them at all,” he said.