DRC: Former rebel groups authorised to function as political parties
Kinshasa, 30 September 2003 (IRIN) - Former rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been authorised to function as political parties, according to Theophile Mbemba, minister of the interior, decentralisation and national security of the nation's recently-inaugurated two-year transitional government.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday in the capital, Kinshasa, he said that rebel groups that were now party to a two-year power-sharing government of national unity were authorised to operate as political parties while awaiting such a law to be enacted by the National Assembly.
"The political parties affected by this measure must, however, notify [my ministry] of this in writing," he said.
Mbemba said political parties other than the 234 that were recognised by the former Kinshasa government of President Joseph Kabila would also have to register with his ministry, and to provide a copy of their charters and a list of their director members.
In 1990, the Congo had more than 400 recognised political parties.
The announcement of procedures for the registration of political parties was accompanied by the issuance of a series of regulations regarding their functioning nationwide "to put an end to the conflicts that have prevailed among parties in recent weeks", Mbemba said. He was referring to the fact that the former Kinshasa government, as well as the former rebel groups, had thus refused to allow any other party to exercise authority in territory under their control.
Among the regulations is the requirement that authorisation for public meetings be requested five days in advance of the meeting.
"The local authority can, in consultation with the applicants, defer the date, change the location or modify the itinerary of the planned meetings if questions of public security are involved," Mbemba said. "However, any refusal must be justified, and the applicant must be informed of the modification 48 hours in advance of the meeting."