UN urges DRC to hold elections by Dec 31 deadline


New York - The UN Security Council urged Democratic Republic of Congo's government on Wednesday to swiftly implement an agreement to hold presidential elections by the end of the year, warning that failure to do so will increase the risk of insecurity and instability in the country and the region.

The head of DRC's electoral commission announced on July 7 that it would not be possible to organise a presidential ballot by the December 31 deadline.

DRC law bars President Joseph Kabila from seeking another term but allows him to remain in power until another election can be held.

A presidential statement approved by all 15 council nations insists that the deadline be kept and urges key players "to organise peaceful, credible, inclusive and timely elections" leading to a peaceful transfer of power.

It expresses concern at the slow implementation of the agreement, reached on New Year's Eve 2016, and reiterates that full compliance with all its provisions "is critical to a credible electoral process" and peace and stability in DRC.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed delivered a similar message during a meeting with Kabila on Wednesday.

She tweeted afterward: "Conveyed @UN support & encouragement for peaceful & inclusive elections & development process."

DRC's UN ambassador, Ignace Gata Mavita, told the Security Council on July 11 that while 33 million of the country's 45 million expected voters have been registered in 24 provinces, registration had not yet begun in two provinces - Kasai and Kasai Central - as a result of violence.

He said the government "cannot envision the conduct of such a critical election" without those two provinces, which represent more than 10% of the electorate.

The Security Council statement welcomed "progress made in the voter registration process" and called for continued efforts "to ensure that voters throughout the country, including in the Kasai provinces, are duly registered."

The council also called for "the swift publication of the electoral timetable" as called for by African Union leaders at their summit in early July.

The Security Council reiterated its condemnation of violence in the Kasais in recent months and the resulting humanitarian crisis which has displaced more than 1.4 million people within DRC and forced more than 30 000 to flee the country.

Council members expressed serious concerns at human rights violations and abuses in the Kasai region, including sexual violence and the discovery of mass graves.

They also expressed serious concern at "recent reports of significant increase in violations of international humanitarian law and human rights by members of the security forces" of DRC in the Kasai region, "including the disproportionate use of force and the killing of civilians" that might constitute war crimes.

"The Security Council reiterates the importance and urgency of prompt and transparent investigations into violations of international humanitarian law and violations or abuses of human rights in the Kasai region," the statement said.

The council also reiterated the need for the Congolese government "to swiftly and fully investigate" the killing of two UN experts in May and bring those responsible to justice.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Will you continue to use WhatsApp following the company announcing a change terms of service which would force users to share personal data?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, the terms of service do not bother me enough to switch
52% - 7160 votes
No, I will be switching over to a new service
44% - 6071 votes
I've never used WhatsApp
4% - 558 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo