The Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) of veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi called on all parents to boycott the school resumption set for 5 September 2016.

UDPS Secretary General, Jean-Marc Kabund-a-Kabund, explained that “the call for boycott forms part of citizen actions the party announced to demand the holding of a genuine dialogue”. He cited the statement issued by the anti-dialogue Rassemblement platform on 29 August 2016 which indicated “if no genuine dialogue is held, the platform reserves the right to conduct citizen actions to demand for its holding”.

He further indicated that the school resumption boycott should be heeded as a sign of solidarity with the large majority of parents who cannot send their children to school this year due to lack of means.

Kabund-a-Kabund said “we hope are call will be heeded as we as parents to keep their children at home in solidarity with millions of children who will not be able to resume school because their parents either have no means or are not ready”.

ecoleUPDS reassured the action will be peaceful, does not seek to prevent the education of children in the country, but aims at ensuring compliance with constitutional provisions on universal free primary education.

Reacting to the call, the Minister of Primary and Secondary education, Maker Mwangu, confirmed the school resumption for 5 September 2016. He urged all parents to send their children to school, noting that “the resumption is taking place against a backdrop of political tension”.

Mwangu called upon all political stakeholders to preserve and protect education urging “we must have a peaceful school resumption” and reminded them of the “commitment made by all political stakeholders on the sanctity of education”.

Meanwhile, the Association of Protestant Church owned schools, through its Vice-President, Prospère Muzinga, rejected the call for boycott and urged parents to send their children to schools.