- The EU observer mission to the DRC elections withdrew from monitoring upcoming elections on its “own initiative”, the country’s government said.
- The EU cited the security situation in the country as the reason behind the withdrawal.
- The US said it would like to keep a small team of experts in Kinshasa for the polls.
The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) said it was unfortunate and regrettable that the European Union (EU) yesterday withdrew its election observer mission to the 20 December general elections.
In a statement, the government said the EU took the measures at a time when both parties were engaged in talks on the mission’s operations.
“The government of the republic regrets the decision by the European Union on its own initiative to cancel the electoral mission, which occurred at a time when discussions were being held with European Union experts on the practical arrangements for its deployment,” the government said.
The upcoming elections are high stakes in one of Africa’s resource-rich countries but are affected by numerous crises, ranging from climate change, famine, and conflict, all of which contribute to the biggest humanitarian problem in southern Africa.
The DRC government said that while the EU team had withdrawn, Kinshasa was seeking to hold free and fair elections in the best possible manner.
“The government of the republic is committed to ensuring that the forthcoming elections are held in a transparent, inclusive, and free manner. To this end, it remains open to any proposal likely to help achieve this objective,” the government added.
Less than a month before the elections, the DRC government said it was allowing observer missions into the country as long as they stuck to their mandate.
“It (government) remains available to welcome observer missions wishing to monitor these elections in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” the government said.
In a statement, the EU’s diplomatic service spokesperson, Nabila Massrali, raised security concerns around observers.
Hence, the decision to withdraw.
Due to technical constraints beyond the EU’s control, we are forced to cancel the election observation mission.
But despite not having an observer team on the ground, the EU urged the DRC people to work towards a free and fair credible election.
“The EU encourages the DRC authorities and all stakeholders to continue their efforts to ensure that the Congolese people can fully exercise their legitimate political and civil rights in the forthcoming elections,” she added.
Massrali said that it was the EU’s wish to keep a small team of electoral experts to watch from the capital, Kinshasa.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) warned last month that more than a million people have been disenfranchised due to ongoing conflict in the eastern DRC.
President Felix Tshisekedi will run for a second and last constitutional term in the December election. He will likely face opposition from 19 other candidates whose names have been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, commonly known as the Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante (CENI) in French.
Three other candidates have withdrawn from the race to support Moïse Katumbi after five opposition parties met in Pretoria last month to discuss modalities of a grand coalition.
The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
Source link : https://www.news24.com/news24/africa/news/drc-elections-government-regrets-eu-observer-missions-withdrawal-20231130
Publish date : 2023-11-30 13:11:32