WINDHOEK - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has congratulated Felix Tshisekedi, 55, the leader of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s main opposition party, who has been declared the provisional surprise winner of the December 30 presidential election in the vast central African country.
Tshisekedi had won with 38.57 percent of more than 18 million ballots cast, the electoral commission said.
The result, announced early on Thursday, means the first electoral transfer of power in 59 years of independence in the DRC is on the horizon. Tshisekedi’s victory comes as a shock to many observers who believed authorities would ensure that the ruling party candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, would be the victor in the polls, the third since the end of a bloody civil war in 2002.
Shadary was hand-picked by outgoing president Joseph Kabila to succeed him.
Asked in an interview with New Era yesterday if the election outcome surprises her, Nandi-Ndaitwah said she was not.
“We were expecting that elections in the DRC like any other elections, at the end of the day there will be a winner. So now we have learned that Tshisekedi as one of the candidates has won,” she said.
“In any elections, you expect a winner and you have the participants. At this stage as a country, we congratulate the people of DRC. They went to elections and made their verdicts. We also congratulate all the candidates who have participated because they have made the democratic process to proceed,” she reacted.
Further, she congratulated former DRC President Kabila for not seeking re-election as was required by his country’s laws.
As she congratulates the winner, the Minister is hopeful the people of DRC – both the voters and the candidates – will now come together in the sense that they all agree on the elections outcome and can proceed with their national agendas.
“That’s the most important thing and that’s what we wish the people of DRC to do. We wish their leaders to provide them with the right leadership,” she noted.
She said DRC is a very important partner in Africa – economically and otherwise.
She asserted that Africa will soon be faced with a water crisis, a situation that DRC may have a solution for.
Therefore, she said, having peace and stability in DRC is very important for Africa and the world at large.
“DRC is a member of SADC. So, a stable DRC is very important to the stability of the region,” she remarked.
Hence, she trusts there will be a good transition of power, adding DRC is a close and friendly country to Namibia and will remain as such.
“Namibia is part of the African Union. Namibia is part of SADC. We respect every democratic process. So that is a democratic process which has taken place in DRC. And when people of DRC or any other country decided on who should be their leaders, I can’t see any country that can oppose that – definitely not Namibia. We cannot oppose the leadership that is elected by a specific country – let alone DRC. So, we must congratulate him,” she noted.
She said Namibia expects the people of DRC to do the right thing so they can work together towards a stable and peaceful country.
Regarding whether the ambassadors will be recalled, Nandi-Ndaitwah said it depends from country to country.
She explained it is not automatic that when a new government comes into power, all ambassadors are recalled.
“It differs from country to country. It also depends on the time the person has been serving. Sometimes the incoming government might need the expertise of some of the ambassadors to serve in the new administration. So, they can always be re-assigned. There is not really something diplomatically that is said that whenever there is a change of government, ambassadors are recalled or they remain in the post. So, it’s all dictated by the situation at hand,” she explained.