A dialogue organised by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of local and legislative elections in the central African country has been boycotted by the opposition.
A coalition of parties said the meeting which starts Thursday in Owando in the country’s north is a stunt meant to divert attention from the various crises afflicting the country.
“We must not think about what Owando should be between. Rather, we need a real dialogue that brings together all the sons and daughters of the Congo,” said Jean Itadi opposition, President of the African Congress for Progress.
President Denis Sassou Nguesso who has been in power for 38 years and his Congo Labour Party controversially won re-election last March.
In defence, the government said the dialogue was necessary to achieve consensus ahead of the legislative vote to be held in five months.
But the opposition has demanded a structured dialogue with power-sharing, constitutional reforms; and the release of political prisoners, key among them General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, a former commander who challenged Sassou for the presidency in 2016.