The Chair of the Southern African De-velopment Community (SADC)’s Organ of Politics, Defence and Security (Troi-ka) Ministerial Committee, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga, has started a three-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to assess the situation in the country.
His tour comes a few days after the Troika Chairperson, President John Ma-gufuli, pledged to dispatch foreign affairs ministers from three African countries to assess the political situation in the DRC.
Along with Dr Mahiga are Angolan Foreign Minister and Mozambique Dep-uty Defence Minister.
The mission seeks to meet different stakeholders, discuss the political situation and advise accordingly.
A statement released in Dar es Sa-laam yesterday by Ambassador Innocent Shiyo from the Department of Regional Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, said the protests organised by opposition parties that took place in DRC on Sep-tember 19 forced President John Magu-fuli to dispatch the mission.
“The volatile political situation, security and peace in DRC that was at-tributed to, partly, by protests that were organised by opposition parties and took place on September 19 to pressurise the National Electoral Committee (CENI) to announce the date for the General Elec-tion prompted the president to send the mission.It will meet different stakeholders in the country, evaluate the situation on ground and advise accordingly,” stated Ambassador Shiyo.
The mission was to take place be-tween October 4 and 5 but due to the visit by President Joseph Kabila to Tanzania it had to be rescheduled.
“After consultations between Presi-dent Magufuli and President Kabila dur-ing the tour, it was agreed the mission should take place from October 10 to 13.
In the delegation, there is the Execu-tive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stergomena Tax and senior officials from the Minis-try of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, President’s Office and the Ministry for Defence and National Ser-vice,” Ambassador Shiyo said.
The 36th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government that was held from August 30 to 31 in Mbabane, Swaziland, elected President Magufuli to be the Chairperson of the Troika.
Angola is vice-chairperson and Mozambique is outgoing chairperson.
According to Ambassador Shiyo, the mission had met some people, including SADC member ambassadors in DRC; the Chief Mediator of the African Union; Mr Eden Kodjo, DRC Minister for For-eign Affairs; Chairperson of CENI; non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and religious institutionsAmbassador Shiyo said the mission was putting great emphasis on the need for dialogue as the only means to get out of the deadlock, necessity of political tol-erance and later to hold an election at a time to be agreed upon amicably.
The SADC meeting received re-port on efforts being taken by the DRC Government and some other political stakeholders to ensure the country moves peacefully during and after the general election.
- Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga