President Joseph Kabila has refused to rule out standing in elections when next they are held in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
According to a former U.S. ambassador and one-time Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Herman Cohen, 46-year-old Kabila at a meeting last week failed to rule himself out in the next elections.
“I met with Kabila last Thursday at his request. He refused to give me assurance he will not run for DRC president again. Big disappointment,” Cohen said in a tweet on Monday.
The central Africa country has been plunged into a political crisis that has resulted in mass opposition protests usually met with heavy police crackdown.
Incumbent Kabila is continuing as president until a new election is held – according to Kabila, soon as the necessary plans are put in place. He was barred from contesting for another term according to a peace deal brokered by the Catholic Church in late December last year.
The latest development is the strongest hint yet that he will seek to continue after 16 years in charge. He has served his constitutionally mandated two-term limit. He holds the majority in parliament and it is yet to be seen how he would manage to tinker with the laws to allow him to stand.