The United States of America has placed restrictions on the travel of top officials of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
According to a notice from the Department of State, top officials in the DRC government including the head of National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) Norbert Katintima, President of the National Assembly Aubin Ndjalanjoko and Constitutional Court President Benoit Bindu.
The officials have been banned from travelling to the United States for electoral corruption in the just ended elections.
“The Secretary of State is publicly designating, due to their involvement in significant corruption relating to the electoral process, the following individuals: Mr. Corneille Nangaa, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (D.R.C.) National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI); Mr. Norbert Basengezi Katintima, Vice President of CENI; Mr. Marcellin Mukolo Basengezi, Advisor to the President of CENI; Mr. Aubin Minaku Ndjalandjoko, President of the D.R.C.’s National Assembly; and Mr. Benoit Lwamba Bindu, President of the D.R.C.’s Constitutional Court. This public designation is being made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2019, (Div. F, P.L. 116-6-),” reads the advisory.
“Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.”
“The Secretary of State is also imposing visa restrictions on election officials as well as military and government officials believed to be responsible for, complicit in, or to have engaged in human rights violations or abuses or undermining of the democratic process in the D.R.C.”
The US government alleges that the listed officials enriched themselves through corruption and cannot be allowed entry into the United States.
“These individuals enriched themselves through corruption, or directed or oversaw violence against people exercising their rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. They operated with impunity at the expense of the Congolese people and showed a blatant disregard for democratic principles and human rights,” it states.
“The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain officials and not directed at the Congolese people or the newly elected government. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the new D.R.C. government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy and accountability, and respect for human rights.”