Mixed Feelings Over Draft Law Limiting Presidential Eligibility

For several days in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), public discourse on “Congoleseness” has taken a new course.

A draft law which provides for the exclusion from the presidential election, but also from other government functions, of any person whose two parents are not Congolese has elicited mixed feelings.

The bill has the political class, but also the general public divided and with strong opinions.

Omar Matandiko, a political analyst says they know that this law will only trace, paint in red the lines of their political and ethnic divergences, but it will also bring the seeds of conflicts, to awaken these seeds that exist today, it would even threaten their national cohesion, their unity and their living together

Opponents of the draft legislation say it targets opposition activist Moise Katumbi, whose father is Greek, who is said to have presidential ambitions.

Congo’s presidential election is only two years away. Observers say President Felix Tshisekedi is keen to exploit Katumbi’s parents to exclude him from the vote. So far, the government has not yet commented on the bill.

Described as “discriminatory” or “unconstitutional” by its opponents, the draft legislation still has a long way to go before it becomes law. It must pass through several stages, starting with the National Assembly, which is already divided on the issue.

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