The United States on Friday imposed travel visas restrictions on five top officials from Democratic Republic of Congo, including the heads of the country’s electoral body and constitutional court, accusing them of corruption during the presidential elections.
THE BIG PICTURE: The travel visas restrictions of the United States of America have hit the President of the Independent National Electoral Commission of the DR Congo, Corneille Nangaa, who is accused by the DR Congo abated opposition leaders, such as the runner-up, Martin Fayulu, of disloyalty.
Even though the USA has reluctantly accepted to work with the once controversial president of the DR Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, Washington said it wanted to send a clear signal of the need for accountability in the DR Congo.
The United States said it would reject any visa request from five senior Congolese figures as well as their immediate family members over “involvement in significant corruption relating to the election process.”
According to a Reuters report, the U.S. travel and visa curbs affect Corneille Nangaa, president of the country’s election commission CENI; his deputy Norbert Basengezi and adviser Marcellin Mukolo Basengezi; Aubin Minaku Ndjalandjoko, president of DRC’s National Assembly; and Benoit Lwamba Bindu, head of the constitutional court.
The restrictions also affect their families. “These individuals enriched themselves through corruption, or directed or oversaw violence against people exercising their rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” the State Department said in a statement.
“They operated with impunity at the expense of the Congolese people and showed a blatant disregard for democratic principles and human rights.”
Pre-election polls had predicted a landslide win for another opposition leader, Martin Fayulu, who said he had been a victim of fraud.
Martin Fayulu accused the CENI President, Nanga Corneille of orchestrating the behind-the-scene deal between the then outgoing DR Congo president, kabila and Felis Tshisekedi.
Nangaa told Reuters that he had not been informed of the U.S. decision and rejected the department’s accusations that he was involved in corruption.
“I reject such measures, which are unjust, as I haven’t been involved in any type of corruption,” Nanga told Reuters.
Others accused by the US State department have refutedd their accusations in phone calls with Reuters.
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