France likely to seek EU sanctions against DR Congo's Kabila

Wednesday December 21 2016

DR Congo President Joseph Kabila. PHOTO | FILE

France said Wednesday that DR Congo President Joseph Kabila may face EU sanctions over his refusal to step down at the end of his mandate.

"If things don't proceed properly, towards dialogue and an end to the democratic impasse," France will ask the European Union to consider sanctions against Kabila, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll told reporters.

He said Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault discussed the option during a cabinet meeting.

The European Union imposed travel bans and asset freezes on seven top DR Congo officials on December 12, three months after a crackdown on anti-Kabila protesters left more than 50 people dead.

Washington, which had previously targeted several senior figures close to the president for sanctions, added two more on December 12.

According to a United Nations provisional toll, at least 19 people were killed in street protests in DR Congo on Tuesday, the final day of Kabila's second and final term in office.


Veteran opposition figure Etienne Tshisekedi called for "peaceful resistance" against Kabila, who is showing no sign of plans to leave power anytime soon.

Kabila, 45, who has ruled since 2001, is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term but under a controversial recent constitutional court order, he may stay on until a successor is chosen.

"The end of Mr Kabila's mandate should normally lead to new elections without the outgoing president standing in them," Le Foll said Wednesday.

The president has been in office since his father Laurent Kabila was assassinated in 2001. He was elected in 2006, and again in 2011.