Kabila Grapples with Odds of the People
Early political theorists say that power belongs to the people. But some political leaders do not want to accept that as true. However, no matter how we want to run away from it, that statement is largely true.
Power belongs to the people whose time has come.
For the people of Democratic Republic of Congo, their time seems to have come. And their long-time ruler, Joseph Kabila, is getting the heat in excess.
Government of the DR Congo on Saturday ordered telecommunications providers to cut internet and texting services
across the country ahead of planned anti-government demonstrations.
Grass-roots Catholic activists called for marches in major cities on Sunday to demand that President Joseph Kabila commit to not changing the constitution to stand for a third term and to releasing political prisoners.
But the ban could not deter protesters. Earlier today, Congolese security forces fired tear gas to break up a Catholic mass and arrested Catholic altar boys who were protesting against President Joseph Kabila, AFP reported.
“Some officers fired shots in the air in the capital Kinshasa as church and opposition groups defied a ban by authorities to push ahead with the demonstrations.
“The protesters were demanding that Kabila promise he will not seek to further extend his time in power in Democratic Republic of Congo, a mostly Catholic former Belgian colony”, said AFP.
Kabila has been in power since 2001. Elections to replace him have been delayed and are currently set for December 2018.
The AFP said that impatience boiled over on Sunday, with all the vast central African country’s main opposition and civil society groups joining in the call for peaceful protests.
“A churchgoer who asked not to be named told AFP that officers dispersed worshippers from a mass in the parish of St. Michael’s in central Kinshasa on Sunday morning.
“While we were praying, the soldiers and the police entered the church compound and fired tear gas at the church,” he said.
Another parishioner who identified herself as Chantal said: “People fell, first-aiders are resuscitating old ladies who have fallen” — but added that the priest carried on saying mass.
Officers later detained 12 altar boys dressed in their liturgical robes outside one church as they led a protest march.
Earlier at the Notre-Dame of Congo Cathedral in Gombe, north Kinshasa, security forces also fired tear gas as opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi arrived, AFP journalists saw.
The parish priest asked worshippers to “return to their homes in peace because there is a heavy presence of soldiers and police ready to fire”.
In Kinshasa, Catholics of the “Lay Coordinating Committee” had invited worshippers to walk, holding bibles, rosaries and crucifixes, after mass on Sunday.
They want Kabila, 46, to declare publicly that he will not run for another term as president.