25 November 2016 – Wrapping up a visit to Africa’s Great Lakes region, a United Nations envoy today urged stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) electoral process to do more to help ensure the country is able to hold peaceful elections.
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo is at an important turning point in its political history – I call on all parties to demonstrate flexibility and readiness for compromise to create propitious conditions for peaceful and credible elections,” the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, Said Djinnit, said today, according to a news release from his office.
The envoy’s comments came at the end of a four-day trip to the DRC’s capital, Kinshasa. According to his office, the aim of the visit was to consult with a wide range of national stakeholders on the electoral process and related political issues and seek their views on how best to support the ongoing mediation efforts led by the Conference Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO), which, it said, are aimed at broadening the consensus on, and inclusivity of the electoral and political process building on the so-called Global Political Agreement reached on 18 October.
Last month, the DRC’s Constitutional Court granted a petition of the National Electoral Commission to postpone the elections to 2018. Meanwhile, on 18 October, participants in a national dialogue on elections signed an agreement to conduct the polls in April 2018 – however, the dialogue is being boycotted by several of the main opposition groups, some of which have been staging protests.
According to the news release, accompanied by senior officials from the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Mr. Djinnit held “fruitful” meetings with the Acting Secretary-General of CENCO, the representatives of the Presidential Majority, the opposition coalition of political parties known as the Rassemblement, as well as several individual political leaders. The UN envoy also paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister-designate Samy Badibanga.
The news release also noted that in his meetings, Mr. Djinnit expressed support for the ongoing mediation efforts by CENCO, and encouraged representatives from the government and the Rassemblement to exercise restraint and take additional confidence-building measures to help create the enabling environment for successful and peaceful negotiations.
While in the region, the Special Envoy also visited the Republic of Congo, where he met with President Denis Sassou Nguesso in the country’s capital, Brazzaville. They discussed the preparation of the next meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Framework for Peace, Security and Cooperation, which will be held in October 2017, as well as the need for promoting common ground between the electoral stakeholders in the DRC and the situation in Burundi.