US commends Congo's Kabila for not seeking another term

The State Department says Joseph Kabila's decision not to run for a third term represents a significant step forward for Congolese democracy.

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Joseph Kabila. Picture: United Nations Photo

WASHINGTON - The US State Department on Thursday commended Congo’s President Joseph Kabila for not seeking a third term in the country’s December elections and called on Congolese leadership to guarantee a credible vote.

“The ruling coalition’s announcement of a consensus candidate other than President Kabila represents a significant step forward for Congolese democracy,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

“Government, opposition, and civil society leaders, along with the heads of the security services share with President Kabila the responsibility of ensuring full respect for democratic norms.”

A Kabila spokesman on Wednesday said he would not run in the 23 December election, with a hard-core loyalist, former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, running in his place.

Kabila was due to step down in 2016, but the vote to replace him was repeatedly delayed.