U.S. wants sanctions on Congo leaders, Europe not so sure
07 Jun 2016

Concerned over Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s apparent attempts to cling to power, U.S. officials are pushing for sanctions against his inner circle but running into opposition from European powers wary of moving too quickly.

Kabila is ineligible to stand in Democratic Republic of Congo’s next election due in November, after serving two elected terms. Opponents accuse him of plotting to hold onto power by delaying the poll or even changing the constitution to remove the term limit, as several African leaders have done.

His government says it is unlikely to be able to organize the vote on time, and the electoral commission has said the delay could last 16 months. Senior Kabila ally Henri Mova Sakani on Saturday raised the possibility of a constitutional referendum on the number of terms he can serve.

Any such move risks triggering further violence in Congo, which has never had a peaceful transition of power. Donors worry about a repeat of the regional conflict in eastern Congo between 1996 and 2003, when millions of people died and more than a half-dozen countries were sucked into the fighting.

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