KINSHASA— The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Minister of Media and Communication Lambert Mende today released the following statement responding to recent political demonstrations in Kinshasa regarding the upcoming 2015-2016 elections.

“We have been and remain committed to the implementation and protection of democracy, human rights and individual freedoms, including the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government. No one is banned from expressing his or her beliefs within the bounds of civil society. We are disappointed that the demonstrations in September were affected by violence and condemn those who provoked these actions.

“We are in the midst of conducting an investigation into these actions and are actively pursuing answers to find those at fault. We have noted the investigation conducted by Human Rights Watch, and request cooperation from it and others in order for substantiated evidence to be incorporated into the government’s own investigation so that justice can be served to the full extent of the law. However we are concerned that evidence presented in the Human Rights Watch investigation may have been influenced by adverse parties that are attempting to obstruct this investigation for their own political gain, and we are working judiciously to verify all incoming evidence so that the government’s final report is as factual as possible”

Earlier this week, following a meeting held by President Joseph Kabila with members of the Presidential Majority, Minister Mende explained that, “the President… once again stood behind his promise to uphold the Constitution with regard to the upcoming presidential election, saying he ‘never participated in any meeting regarding changes to the Constitution.’ He also assured party leaders that he intends to "drive the party to future electoral victories.’"

"President Kabila seeks to safeguard the gains the DRC has achieved in recent years in advancing the development of the country, and to dispel criticism by those who are blind to these achievements," Minister Mende noted.


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