Political pressure on Katumbi denounced ahead of DRC elections

August 5, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Fiston Mahamba/AFP

 

By

Darell Maurice

Since leaving his post of governor of the mineral-rich province of Katanga, resigning from the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) and announcing his candidacy for the Presidency of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Moïse Katumbi has become the bane of the presidential majority.

In May he had to meet fanciful accusations of recruiting mercenaries and breaching State security, before being sentenced to three years in prison by the Lubumbashi Magistrates Court for illegally selling a property.

The President of the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (CALA), Georges Kapiamba, who held a press conference on Tuesday to denounce the inertia and political pressure on the judiciary for Katumbi on file, acknowledged having read the letter of 25 July 2016 from Chantal Ramazani Wazuri, Tribunal Chairperson peace Lubumbashi addressed to the Minister of Justice.

In this correspondence, copies of which were reserved for the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) and various ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions accredited in the DRC, she publicly denounced the pressures and extortion of signatures which she suffered from various authorities that the court convicted Moïse Katumbi.

This was in order to remove him from the race of the presidential election. It should be noted also that on July 31, the jet carrying Moïse Katumbi was forbidden to fly over Congolese airspace and land at the N’djili International Airport.

CALA condemns any manipulation of justice for political purposes, and recalls that on several occasions they called on the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo to respect and uphold the independence of the judiciary that it must perform the tasks assigned by Article 150 of the Constitution. And that the specific intent of the government, CALA always reminded that at the end of Article 151 of the Constitution, it can not give orders to judges in the exercise of its jurisdiction, nor decide disputes or obstruct the course of justice.

Thus Georges Kapiamba took advantage of the press conference to recommend to the government to respect the independence of the judiciary and end the interference and pressure on judges, primarily in the proceedings against members of the opposition and civil society because of their opinions.

The facilitator designated by the African Union was asked to accentuate pressure on the government for the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and to terminate the policy of judicial proceedings against Moïse Katumbi. This, before the start of the national dialogue.

As for political parties and organizations of civil society, they were called on to continue the fight for human rights and democracy by using all means guaranteed by the Constitution.

CALA notes that from 20 to 31 July 2016 the Presidential Majority has organized seven marches and public meetings in Bandundu, Bunia, Butembo, Kalemie, Kinshasa, Matadi and Kolwezi. The Opposition and civil society for their part organized four in Bukavu, Kinshasa, Kindu and Uvira, while nine were banned by local authorities.

While congratulating the police for satisfactory framework of the procession of Etienne Tshisekedi on his return to Kinshasa on 27 July and the meeting he chaired on July 31, CALA did however condemn the violent repression of peaceful motorcycle taxi drivers in the Kisangani demonstration on July 25, and two peaceful meetings of UDPS militants in Lubumbashi on 26 and 27 July 2016.

CALA asked that the Government ensures all political parties of the presidential majority as well as the opposition and civil society organizations freely exercise peaceful demonstrations and meetings in accordance with Article 12 of the Constitution.

The practice of declaring a day “off with pay” and forcing executives and officers of the public service and private enterprise, pupils and students, vendors, etc,  to participate in public demonstrations or meetings of the presidential majority, is illegal, because it violates Article 26, paragraph 2, of the Constitution. This is a crime against democracy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darell Maurice

Darell Maurice is a Journalist based in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city Kinshasa and works for Canal7kintv.

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