DRC at crossroads – Geingob

SADC leaders met in Addis Ababa yesterday to discuss the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

18 January 2019 | International

The SADC chairman and Namibian head of state, Hage Geingob, who has declared 2019 'The Year of Accountability' for Namibia, says other SADC members could draw parallels between that declaration and what they do in their countries.

Speaking at the SADC Double Troika Summit in Addis Ababa yesterday, which discussed the recent election in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Geingob said the DRC was at a crossroads.

Geingob believes it is the job of SADC to assist the people of the DRC and reconcile their fears and aspirations created by last month's election.

“The people of the DRC are waiting and the world is watching. It is against this background that as chair of SADC, I decided to call the SADC Double Troika Summit, initially to take place at Windhoek, but now taking place here in Addis Ababa,” he said.

After a long delay, the DRC's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) declared opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the country's first democratic elections in 20 years.

The runner-up, Martin Fayulu, rejected the vote as an electoral coup and asked the Constitutional Court for a recount.

Geingob yesterday said he therefore proposed that SADC deliberate on this important matter.

“We consider, among others, that the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo count on all of us to assist in ensuring an atmosphere that will put an end to conflict and instability in the DRC, and place that sisterly country on the path of peace and sustainable development. Therefore, their security, socio-economic aspirations should remain paramount,” he said.

Geingob emphasised that the fact that DRC held relatively peaceful elections was in itself a success.

He commended outgoing President Joseph Kabila for having kept his word and creating a conducive atmosphere for the holding of elections.

The SADC Troika Summit subsequently issued a statement calling upon the international community to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC in accordance with the African Union (AU) Constitutive Act and the SADC Treaty.

The Summit said it was aware of the election petition filed in the Constitutional Court challenging the election results and urged the Congolese people and all political stakeholders to remain calm.

“The Summit recognised and underscored the role of the Constitutional Court of the DRC and called upon the international community to respect the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the internal legal and political processes for the finalisation of the electoral process,” the statement read.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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