x240-ka0President Joseph Kabila Diplomatic Adviser, Barnabé Kikaya said on 17 September 2016 he was on a « pleading mission » to Washington to impress upon the US government to support the dialogue between the ruling coalition and a section of the opposition on charting the course for the electoral process in the DRC. 

 In an interview with Reuters, Kikaya indicated he had informed U.S. officials and lawmakers on the dialogue under way to form a transition government in DRC and insisted that Kabila was not seeking to extend his term.

« I’m in a pleading mission because there are two resolutions that were pending in the House to impose sanctions on Congolese officials, » Kikaya said. « My mission is to plead with American officials and to prove to them that sanctions are not a solution to help us resolve our problems. »

 Washington has threatened sanctions against political figures over delays in the elections that had been set for November.

Leading opposition parties, including the Rassemblement platform and G7 group, have boycotted the dialogue, saying it will only plays in the hands of the regime and allow Kabila to extend his stay in power. The forum was suspended as the opposition and the regime disagreed on sequence of the elections. The opposition wants the presidential to be held first while the regime wants it last. It has since been agreed that the presidential and legislative polls will be held concurrently.

A senior State Department official said the United States supported an inclusive dialogue that included the opposition and civil society, but there was still a lack of clarity over precisely what the agreement would include.

« We want to see what it would say, » the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. « We want to make sure that the Congolese government includes political opposition, civil society in these discussions. »

The United States insisted again on Friday it was ready to consider additional targeted sanctions against individuals who sought to undermine Congo’s democratic institutions and the election process.

« We’re ready to consider targeted sanctions under those circumstances, » the official said, adding: « It is something we’re exploring and looking at. »

Kikaya denied that Kabila was seeking to stay in power and pushed back at accusations that the delay in the election was « purposefully engineered. »

The constitution « means a lot to him and he will not violate it, » said Kikaya, « And he has said it time and again. »

Asked why Kabila had not publicly stated he was not seeking to extend his term, Kikaya said: « He has made it clear at every opportunity. It is written in the constitution that he can’t and the constitution hasn’t changed. »

Kikaya added: « He cannot say it. We are in Africa … where if Kabila had to say that … from that time on he loses all authority. »

Washington had made it clear to Congolese authorities, through its Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Tom Perriello, that the election process must be inclusive and comply with the constitution.

With Reuters