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Cablegate: Drc Elections: Media Authority Sets Presidential

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PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1575 2861259
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131259Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4949
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001575

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM CG ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: DRC ELECTIONS: MEDIA AUTHORITY SETS PRESIDENTIAL
DEBATE FOR OCTOBER 26


1. (U) The DRC's High Media Authority (HAM) has proposed for
October 26 the one and only planned presidential debate
between President Joseph Kabila and Vice President
Jean-Pierre Bemba. Neither Kabila nor Bemba participated in
the handful of televised debates held among the 32 candidates
who ran in the July 30 presidential contest. The location and
format of the two-hour encounter will be determined by
Kabila's and Bemba's respective political camps.

2. (U) Neither campaign, however, has officially accepted to
take part in the debate. Olivier Kamitatu, spokesman for
Kabila's Alliance for the Presidential Majority (AMP), said
recently that Kabila is ready for the debate. According to
Kamitatu, the AMP wants the rules of the debate clearly
defined in advance before accepting the invitation. He added
that the encounter must be dignified and not an exchange of
insults. For its part, Bemba's Union for the Nation (UN)
alliance has expressed its willingness to participate, but
that it is waiting to confirm its position until the AMP
first signs a code of conduct for the debate itself.

3. (U) In an October 10 statement, the HAM put forward the
rules all Congolese media must agree to follow during the
presidential campaign, which begins at midnight October 13.
Television and radio stations will be permitted to produce
two political debates each week (presumably between
representatives of Kabila and Bemba), ensuring that more than
one viewpoint is represented in the discussion. In addition,
stations can broadcast political advertisements (such as ads
or jingles) only during certain hours of the day: from 0600
to 0700, from 1400 to 1900, and from 2100 to 2300. None of
these political advertisements are permitted to have messages
related to ethnicity, hate, violence, or xenophobia. The
government-controlled station RTNC was also specifically
called upon to assure equal coverage of both Kabila and Bemba
during the campaign period.

4. (SBU) Comment: A Kabila-Bemba debate remains uncertain. A
great deal of mistrust exists between the two camps and
neither side believes the other will adhere to the rules. End
comment.
DOUGHERTY

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