Call for unity in Congo
SADC urges DRC to form inclusive new government
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) thinks the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should consider a government of national unity after its disputed presidential election. “Seeing that there seems to have been an amicable resolution between [opposition leader Felix] Tshisekedi and [outgoing president Joseph] Kabila, it would make sense that this would take into account the [opposition] Martin Fayulu group as well,” SA’s foreign minister Lindiwe Sisulu told a news conference in Johannesburg yesterday.
“If this works and we have a government of national unity it would be a great step. That is just an idea put forward by SADC. It is not compelling anybody to go that way.” SA and DRC are both members of the SADC bloc. The December 30 poll was supposed to mark Congo’s first uncontested democratic transfer of power in 59 years of restive independence and the beginning of a new era following 18 years of chaotic rule by Kabila.
But runner-up Fayulu claims that he in fact won by a landslide and that the official winner, Tshisekedi, struck a deal with Kabila to be declared victor.
Tshisekedi and Kabila have denied this.
Congo’s Catholic Church has said t hat tallies compiled by its 40,000-strong monitoring team show a different winner to those announced by the electoral commission, without saying who.
Isolated post-election violence across the massive, mineral-rich country of 80-million people has many fearing a return to the kind of civil-war unrest that has killed millions since the 1990s.
“A recount would provide the necessary reassurance to both winners and losers,” SADC said in a statement. SADC recommended a government of national unity including parties representing Kabila, Fayulu and Tshisekedi that could promote peace. “SADC draws the attention of Congolese politicians to similar arrangements that were very successful in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya” that created the “necessary stability for durable peace”, the statement said.
The chance of this kind of unity in Congo appears slim for now. Fayulu, who is backed by bitter political rivals of Kabila, on Saturday filed a formal election complaint with the Constitutional Court.
‘ ‘ Arrangements successful in SA, Zimbabwe and Kenya
Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says a government of national unity would help peace.