The Constitutional Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is the country’s top court, has excluded presidential hopeful Jean Pierre Bemba from the upcoming presidential election scheduled for 23 December 2018. The decision came Monday.
Jean Pierre Bemba, a former rebel leader and warlord whose militia wreaked havoc in the Central African Republic (CAR) was defeated in the 2006 elections by Joseph Kabila. Thereafter, he spent 10 years at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes committed by his militia in the CAR.
He was released from the ICC in May 2018 and his supporters had hoped that he would have a chance to win the presidency come December 2018 seen that incumbent Kabila will not be running for the presidency.
The Constitutional Court’s decision is actually a confirmation of the electoral commission’s decision to exclude Bemba from the presidential race. The court argued that “the election commission had rightly invalidated Bemba’s candidacy last month, finding that witness tampering is a form of corruption as stipulated in the electoral law.”
While it appears the court based its decision on the law, Bemba’s supporters may suspect Kabila influenced the ruling, a situation that may lead to violence.