Sadc calls for peaceful power transition in DRC

Home National Sadc calls for peaceful power transition in DRC

WINDHOEK- Sadc has called upon all stakeholders to support DRC President-elect Felix Tshisekedi and his government in maintaining unity, peace and stability –and attaining socio-economic development in the vast central African country.
Sadc chairperson Dr Hage Geingob, who is Namibia’s president, said the regional body looks forward to a peaceful transfer of power to the president-elect in the DRC.

He said Sadc also congratulated Tshisekedi, following the national elections that were conducted on  December 30, 
2018 and Sunday’s ruling of the Constitutional Court.

“We further congratulate the people of DRC, the political leadership, and all stakeholders in the country for conducting the elections in a peaceful manner despite the security and logistical challenges. Sadc calls upon all Congolese to accept the outcome, and consolidate democracy and maintain a peaceful and stable environment following the landmark elections.” 
Geingob added that Sadc calls upon all Congolese to accept the outcome, consolidate democracy and maintain a peaceful and stable environment.

Tshisekedi was recognised as DRC’s incoming president on Sunday after the Constitutional Court upheld the vote results, rejecting claims by his main rival of an election stitch-up. Announcing the final results of the much-delayed poll, the Constitutional Court said Tshisekedi had won by a simple majority, paving the way for him to take over from long-time leader Joseph Kabila.

Runner-up Martin Fayulu, who has previously described the outcome as an “electoral coup” forged by Tshisekedi and Kabila, immediately called on the international community to reject the results.

Tshisekedi’s victory was provisionally announced earlier this month by the Independent National Election Commission (Ceni) but it was challenged both at home and abroad, with the African Union appealing for the final results to be delayed. On Sunday, the Constitutional Court said Fayulu’s claims were “unfounded” and he had failed to prove any inaccuracies in the figures, describing his call for a recount as “absurd”.

After the court dismissed runner-up Martin Fayulu’s call for a recount as “absurd”, Tshisekedi was declared the winner with 38.5 percent of the vote, paving the way for him to take over from Kabila.

Geingob noted Sadc reiterates the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC, and commits its support to the Government of DRC in line with the Sadc Treaty, and the Sadc Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. 

The 55-year-old Tshisekedi is expected to be sworn into office today, according to his entourage.
It would mark the first peaceful transfer of power from one president to another in DRC since independence from Belgium in 1960.

The African Union, which had expressed “serious doubts” about the election figures, said on Sunday it has “taken note” of the court’s ruling and postponed sending a high-level delegation to Kinshasa.

The dispute over the election has raised fears of fresh bloodshed in the vast and volatile central African nation, but calls by Fayulu on people to protest did not lead to large demonstrations.

The influential Roman Catholic Church, which says it deployed 40,000 observers to monitor the poll, has dismissed the official outcome.

The 55-year-old Tshisekedi, leader of the country’s oldest and biggest opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, has never held high office.

His late father Etienne Tshisekedi had contested Kabila’s re-election in 2011.
There were concerns that the political crisis that began when Kabila refused to step down at the end of his constitutional term in office two years ago could turn into a bloodbath.

The country suffered through two regional wars in 1996-97 and 1998-2003. The previous two elections, in 2006 and 2011, were marred by bloody clashes. 
– Additional reporting: Nampa/AFP.