On Wednesday, five African leaders expressed serious concern against the violence during the presidential campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the vote was postponed until March in the Beni-Butembo and Yumbi regions.
Clashes in some places are enough to jeopardize the tranquility of voters, a statement said at the end of the summit organized by President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Namibian President Hage Geingob, who also heads the Southern African Development Community (SADC), joined him at a table in Brazzaville with Edgar Lungu, the President of Zambia, and his Botswana counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi. It was also attended by João Lourenço, the President of Angola, that borders DRC at 2500 kilometers.
However, the representative of the DRC did not attend the talks, but the summit leaders decided that a delegation of foreign ministers would present their findings to the DRC President Joseph Kabila on Thursday.
According to various sources, about a dozen people died as a result of violence as part of a campaign in the DRC. The DRC government disputes the numbers. Martin Fayulu, the presidential candidate of the Lamuka opposition party, claims that he was prohibited from visiting three cities, Kindu, Kolwezi and Kinshasa throughout the campaign.
“The Congolese are asking for help because we live under the rampant dictatorship of Mr. Kabila,” Faiulu commented to RFI. “We believe that these heads of state will take into account the sufferings of the Congolese people,” he added.
The elections in DRC will see a successor to Kabila who has ruled the country for almost 18 years. The 47-year-old was due to resign at the end of 2016 after completing his second term in office. But he stayed on having applied the guardian clause of the Constitution.
Initially, the elections were postponed until the end of 2017 in accordance with the agreement concluded through the mediation of the Catholic Church. It did not take place, and the date at the end of 2018 was set. Then, the country’s election commission put off the date from December 23 to 30 after the voting equipment stored in a warehouse in Kinshasa was destroyed by fire on December 13. Despite the delays in Beni-Butembo and Yumbi, the schedule of presidential elections was not changed. The next head of state will swear faithfulness on 18.