WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today welcomed the approval by the Committee of a resolution which urges respect for the Congolese constitution ahead of upcoming elections (H.Res.780):
“Just as we’ve seen in countries including Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Burundi, it’s troubling that the Democratic Republic of Congo appears to be following a now familiar pattern: lack of transparency, abuse of power, and faulty electoral processes. President Kabila has given no indication that he plans to organize timely elections and step down at the end of his term, and he is flouting the DRC’s constitution and threatening his country’s democratic trajectory. That’s why the Committee passed a resolution urging respect for the DRC’s constitution ahead of upcoming elections. I am concerned that the DRC is rapidly approaching a political crisis, and the failure of a democratic transition would be catastrophic for the region. It is my hope that President Kabila respects the constitution and makes verifiable progress toward free and fair elections. If successful, the United States should support election preparedness and monitoring to ensure transparency and a sound electoral process in December. I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring this measure to a vote and ensure the Congolese people can build upon the progress made on their road to democracy.”
H.Res.780 requests that the United States impose sanctions on core government and opposition officials who undermine democracy and any impediments towards a peaceful democratic transition. This resolution specifically calls for lifting sanctions contingent upon President Kabila ending his term in December, and urges the U.S. government to support civil society to monitor efforts seeking to undermine democracy and rule of law.