Call for unity in Congo

SADC urges DRC to form in­clu­sive new gov­ern­ment

Sowetan - - News -

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.

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