The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on Tuesday, imposed sanctions on Democratic Republic of Congo’s Evariste Boshab and Kalev Mutondo, accusing them of suppressing political opposition and delaying political progress in the country, often through violent means.
“The Congolese government continues to undermine democratic processes in the DRC and repress the political rights and freedoms of the Congolese people, putting the long-term stability and prosperity of the country at risk,” said Adam Szubin, Acting Under-Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the US Treasury Department.
“Today’s designation is intended to alter the behavior of the targeted individuals with the aim of fostering a better and more stable future for the DRC and the Congolese people.”
Washington says that both Boshab and Mutondo are key players in leading DRC President Kabila’s strategy to remain in power after December 19, when Kabila’s constitutional term officially ends.
Boshab had introduced a bill before the DRC National Assembly in January 2015, to amend the electoral law in a manner that would delay elections and prolong President Kabila’s term beyond its constitutional limit.
Boshab had reportedly offered to pay National Assembly members for their votes.
In December 2015, Boshab overstepped his authority by appointing commissioners for newly-created provinces in the DRC without holding elections.
According to the mineral-rich nation’s communication minister Lambert Mende, the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and EU on several high ranking officials in the country are ‘illegal’ under international law.
He has said that the DRC government is going to appeal against them at the UN Security Council and ‘‘in several European courts.” The sanctions have however been welcomed by Human Rights Watch.