The main opposition group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has called for a general strike in the country following the government’s refusal to hold an early presidential election. The opposition called for the strike on Saturday after the government of President Joseph Kabila said the election, originally scheduled for November this year, should be delayed until at least next July, meaning that Kabila will be able to stay in power until then.
The government had, however, offered to hold talks with the opposition on the issue, an offer that was rejected. The opposition party insists that Kabila end his rule in December because, under the country’s constitution, he has exhausted three five-year terms. “Opposition parties call on the Congolese people to hold a dead city strike (general strike) on August 23,” read a statement by the opposition.
Meanwhile, the electoral commission in the country said on Saturday that the voter registry will not be completed until next year, reiterating the possibility of a delayed election. The commission referred to logistical problems due to the lack of funds as hurdles in registering more the than 30 million Congolese voters.
The DR Congo has faced such problems over the past few decades as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead.