A United Nations Security Council envoy is expected to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo between the 10th and 14th November, to gauge tensions over the holding of presidential elections.
This follows a deal between the ruling party and several fringe opposition parties to delay the polls, which were expected to be held later this year to April 2018, a move formally endorsed by the South African Development Community and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region last week.
The 15 council envoys will visit Kinshasa, Goma and Beni, to hold talks with the president and key political players to try to press for an earlier date – hopefully in 2017.
We are in a very tense pre-election context,” Senegalese Ambassador Fode Seck, who holds the presidency of the council this month, told reporters on Tuesday.
“The council considers that it would be useful to go to DRC to speak to all the players as part of its prevention role,” he said.
But main opposition parties are up in arms. They say the delay is ploy by President Joseph Kabile, who has been in power for 15 years, to hold on to his seat beyond the end of his term.
Actors on all sides though appear more willing to resort to violence to achieve their ends, while the space for constructive political activity continues to shrink.