Regional blocs denounce violence in DRC ahead of poll

Thursday December 27 2018

President of the Republic of Congo Denis

President of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou-Nguesso. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ARNALDO VIEIRA
By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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Regional blocs ICGLR and SADC have denounced the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) against civilians and the United Nations Observation Mission.

The message is contained in the final communiqué of the heads of state of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) summit in the Republic of Congo on Wednesday.

The joint Brazzaville meeting, called to review the situation in the regional with a particular focus on the DR Congo, resolved to send a delegation to meet the outgoing President Joseph Kabila ahead of the General Election.

The delegation will comprise the Foreign ministers from the Republic of Congo, representing ICGLR, and a counterpart from Zambia, representing SADC.

Safeguard the security

“Both blocs' heads of state have expressed their concern over the violence in some regions during the electoral campaign,” the final communiqué said.

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The regional leaders appealed to the Kinshasa government to safeguard the security of the election contenders and reaffirmed their faith that the polls would be just, free, democratic and transparent.

They also appealed to the civil society and the political class to make efforts to guarantee a peaceful environment ahead of the elections.
“The leaders considered that violence acts may compromise the elections,” noted the final communiqué.

Rising anxiety

The Brazzaville meeting was organised by Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who is the ICGR chairman.

It came in the wake of the rising anxiety over the long-delayed DR Congo General Election, earlier scheduled to be held on December 23.

The DR Congo national poll agency Ceni, has ordered a postponement to December 30, but a further delay to March in the eastern Beni region and the cities of Beni and Butembo in North Kivu Province, as well as Yumbi in the (southwest) Mai-Ndombe Province, due to violence.

The expansive DRC has been on the edge over the election many hoped would defuse the two-year-old crisis surrounding the future of President Kabila.

The summit

The SADC bloc includes Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, Congo Republic, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

ICGLR members include Angola, DRC and the Republic of Congo.

Other members are Burundi, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.

Angola, Congo, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana were represented by their presidents during the summit.

Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and AU sent envoys to the meeting, while DRC was not represented.

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