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Time to go, Kabila

When President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to defy the constitution and run for a third term, he triggered a political crisis in Burundi that has left close to 500 people dead and uprooted hundreds of thousands from their homes.


Now, it appears to be the turn of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila who is supposed to leave office at the end of 2016.

The electoral calendar in the DRC leaves no doubt that the next presidential election is scheduled to be held in November.

However, Mr Kabila found a way to cling to power by engineering a proposal that the election cannot go ahead without a census being conducted first.

That decision attracted strong protests from the many people who understood it for what it was — a transparent effort to subvert the constitution.

Unfortunately, the courts have rubber-stamped Mr Kabila’s decision to stay in office illegally by declaring that he can remain as president beyond November.

It has now become a tragic reality in Africa that few leaders, even those that achieve very little in their time in office such as Mr Kabila and Mr Nkurunziza, will agree to leave the presidency when their terms expire.

This is extremely dangerous. In the DRC, in particular, where so many armed rebel groups continue to exist, Mr Kabila’s gambit will only lead to more strife and despair.

All parties involved, including the United Nations which maintains a huge peacekeeping force in the DRC and other regional and global powers, should step up to the plate and persuade Mr Kabila to step down.

His clinging to power will be a disastrous choice for the long-suffering people of the DRC, who for decades have borne the brunt of the incompetence and greed of their leaders.

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