Email: New government to start drafting the constitution
NEW YORK — A new government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is expected to begin drafting the country’s first constitution soon, a lawmaker said Friday, in a sign of a potential shift in government direction for the once-feared country of 2.2 million.
The draft constitution was drawn up by the governing party’s top constitutional officer and the head of the military.
It will be submitted to the Congolese Senate for approval on Monday, said Ndenga Diab, a member of the upper house of parliament and a member to the National Assembly, the upper chamber of the National Congress.
The move follows months of criticism from some quarters that the draft constitution is not legally binding and is only an expression of public sentiment in the midst of the countrys civil war.
It is also seen by some as an attempt to placate those who opposed the draft.
Diab said that the constitutional draft would be signed by President Joseph Kabila, but that the president was not expected to sign it.
The countrys president has repeatedly said he is committed to signing the draft as soon as possible.
Diable said the draft would address the country s ongoing conflict, which has left more than 200,000 people dead since 2011.
The constitution was drafted after the country has been in the throes of an armed conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 2.5 million people.
It was intended to be a document that could be adopted without a referendum, but protests erupted in 2011 and many elected officials quit.
The current conflict has left millions displaced, and it has brought the country to the brink of civil war, where ethnic groups, the Tutsi minority and ethnic Hutu rebels are battling for control of the north and south.
In a speech on Thursday, Kabila vowed to “reform the constitution” and to seek a return to democracy, while his allies in the opposition accused him of attempting to undermine the constitutional process and to thwart the nations economic recovery.
The draft constitutional document is expected in early January, Diab said.
Diab and other lawmakers said that Kabila would likely sign the draft within a month, though he has said repeatedly that the constitution must be changed.
The constitution requires a two-thirds vote to become law.
Diabl said he believed the constitution would be the most comprehensive in the world, with provisions for the elimination of discrimination against minorities and the right to peaceful assembly.
The draft constitution would also allow for the formation of a national bank, which the country is unable to do now.