UN, AU Mount Pressure on Kabila to Step Down, Ensure Smooth Elections

DRC President, Joseph Kabila

GOMA - The United Nations and the African Union security bodies have urged President Joseph Kabila to respect the constitution, which prevents him from seeking a third term and transfer power peacefully after delayed elections to be held in December 23.

The UN and AU call comes shortly after President Joseph Kabila delivered a state of the nation address on Thursday in which he said elections will take place and vowed to respect the constitution but did not state whether he will step down.

“Our commitment to respect the constitution also remains unequivocal,” Kabila said, but warned he won’t take lessons from foreigners who ‘assassinated’ DRC’S democracy.

But Kabila’s real intentions on his political future will be known in the coming weeks, as presidential candidates are required to register with the electoral commission between July 25 and Aug 8.

Observers fear Kabila’s refusal to step down will further trigger the crisis that could plunge DRC, which has never known peaceful transfer of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960, into a prolonged period of civil war.

In a statement released on Thursday, members of the UN and AU also expressed concern at the continued deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“While taking note of key milestones in the electoral process being reached, we expressed concerns about remaining challenges to foster greater confidence in the electoral process.”

The two bodies called upon all political parties, their supporters, and other political actors to remain committed to elections which is the only viable path out of the current political situation.

They urged all political parties to continue to reject violence of any kind, exercise maximum restraint in their actions and statements, so as not to further inflame the situation and to address their differences peacefully.

The UN called on the government, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) and all stakeholders to work together towards holding of elections on 23 December.

They reiterated their commitment to take appropriate measures against all Congolese actors, and any others, whose actions and statements impede the organization of the elections.

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