Wed, Dec 12, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Kabila may seek presidency in future after 18-year rule

Bloomberg

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) President Joseph Kabila signaled that he would remain active in politics and would consider running for office when he is eligible again in 2023.

The 47-year-old leader is preparing to step down after ruling the cobalt and copper-rich Central African nation for almost 18 years.

He has chosen Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary to succeed him in a vote on Sunday next week that may mark the first democratic transfer of power in the nation since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

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Kabila’s anointment of Shadary, a loyal former minister of the interior who lacks a nationwide support base, prompted speculation he would attempt to rule the DR Congo from behind the scenes.

The selection has drawn comparisons with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s promotion of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as his protege in 2007.

“My intention is to be available to my country whenever my country will need me,” Kabila said in an interview on Monday at his ranch outside the capital, Kinshasa.

“Building this country is a work in progress and 80 million Congolese have to do that work. I believe I am one of those who will also have to do that work of reconstructing this country,” he added.

The EU on Monday extended sanctions against 14 Congolese officials, including Shadary, for alleged human rights violations and obstructing the electoral process.

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The nation’s constitution prohibits Kabila from running for a third successive term, but he can vie for office again in polls set for 2023.

Supportive officials have said the president might take the lead at important organizations, such as the political party he founded, which is the largest in parliament, and the ruling coalition for which Shadary is standing.

“The law does not bar me from doing that, but my intention is to lead a very calm life in this beautiful country of ours,” Kabila said.

During his years in power, the economy has quintupled in size as mining output has surged, though critics say little has been done to reduce poverty or spur development in one of the world’s poorest nations.

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