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Ex-UN chief, 9 ex-Presidents appeal for polls and peaceful transition in DRC

Ex-UN chief, 9 ex-Presidents appeal for polls and peaceful transition in DRC

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, along with nine former African leaders have expressed concern about the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

According to Annan ‘‘As African leaders committed to democracy, they were ‘‘deeply concerned about the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which represents a threat to the stability, prosperity and peace of the Great Lakes region, and indeed for Africa as a whole.’‘

In a statement released on Thursday (June 15), titled ‘Urgent Appeal for a Peaceful Democratic Transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the leaders charged the government and other stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the December 31 deal brokered by the Catholic Church.

We call therefore on the President and other Congolese leaders to redouble efforts to fully implement the New Year’s Eve agreement in good faith so as to restore trust between the parties and to ensure free, credible and peaceful elections by the end of the year.

‘‘Both the spirit and the letter of the agreement are not being respected thereby endangering a non-violent political transition, which we believe is vital for the future stability and prosperity of the DRC.

‘‘Elections with integrity are the only peaceful strategy possible for resolving the crisis of legitimacy besetting the Congo’s institutions,’‘ the statement read.

They further bemoaned the acute political tension that failure to organize elections last year has created in the country. The Congolese people scarred by years of autocratic rule and civil war deserved better and they were the most affected by the crisis, the leaders added.

They urged leaders to ‘put the national interest first,’ positing that the DRC’s future is ‘in grave danger.’

‘‘We call therefore on the President and other Congolese leaders to redouble efforts to fully implement the New Year’s Eve agreement in good faith so as to restore trust between the parties and to ensure free, credible and peaceful elections by the end of the year,’‘ the statement concluded.

SUGGESTED READING DRC political crisis: a timeline of events and the Church’s ‘saviour’ role

Signatories to the statement were as follows:

Kofi ANNAN, Former Secretary-General of the UN
Thomas BONI YAYI, Former Pres. of the Republic of Benin
John KUFUOR, Former Pres. of the Republic of Ghana
John MAHAMA, Former Pres. of the Republic of Ghana
Thabo MBEKI, Former Pres. of the Republic of South Africa
Benjamin MKAPA, Former Pres. of the United Repub. of Tanzania
Festus MOGAE, Former Pres. of the Republic of Botswana
Olusegun OBASANJO, Former Pres. of the Federal Repub. of Nigeria
Pedro PIRES, Former Pres. of the Republic of Cabo Verde
Cassam UTEEM, Former Pres. of the Republic of Mauritius

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