Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kamerhe Resigns

The Belgian news agency RTBF confirms that Vital Kamerhe has resigned as president of the national assembly.

"I ask you to accept my resignation without a debate or a vote," he declared, to the applause of the parliament.

Kamerhe had earlier insisted on holding a debate in full session about his resignation; there is no word on why he may have changed his mind.

Kamerhe had been under severe pressure to resign after criticizing the deal allowing Rwanda to enter Congolese territory on Radio Okapi in late January. Kamerhe represents Bukavu, one of the towns affected by the Rwandan incursion. His resignation is a sharp reversal of fortunes for Kamerhe, who as an ally of Kabila was once hailed as one of the country's leading promoters of peace.

It may also represent a serious curtailment of political space in the DRC. Yesterday, a coalition of 200 NGOs deplored the effort to dismiss Kamerhe, saying it represented a setback for democracy and human rights.

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