The U.N. Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council have sent a strong message to Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila to respect the country’s constitution and vacate office.
In an apparent response to Kabila’s defiant posture during a national address on Thursday in which he indirectly put himself in the race for re-election when he is constitutionally barred, the U.N has cautioned the Congolese leader not to dare his people.
The Council expressed concern about challenges that should foster greater confidence in the electoral process.
In a joint statement, the two councils “called upon all political parties, their supporters, and other political actors to remain committed to the 31 December 2016 Agreement, which is the only viable path out of the current political situation.”
Under an accord struck on Dec. 31 between Kabila’s representatives and opposition leaders, Kabila is barred from trying to change the constitution to seek a third term.
“The members of the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council expressed concern at the continued deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” the statement read.
“The members of the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council 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 U.N and African Council asked the Congolese government to reject violence and violent statements urging them to ensure the respect for fundamental rights and the electoral timeline to ensure a peaceful and credible electoral process, a democratic transition of power and the peace and stability of the country.
Further, the U.N and the African Council say they will not hesitate to take action against any Congolese actors whose actions and statements impede the implementation of the agreement and the holding of a credible election.
The two key global institutions reminded Kabila that the that it is essential the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and all Democratic Republic of the Congo actors fulfil the commitments in the Agreement of 31 December 2016, and underscored the need to do everything possible to ensure that the elections take place with the requisite conditions of transparency, credibility and inclusivity, including the full and effective participation of women at all stages, as well as the importance of youth engagement. .
The members of the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council urged the Government of Democratic Republic of the Congo to urgently implement confidence-building measures as per the Political Agreement of 31 December 2016 and ensure that elections are held on 23 December 2018 as per the electoral calendar.
They noted the progress made in preparation for the elections with the support of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), while acknowledging the remaining challenges still to be addressed.
They called on the electoral body known as CENI to continue their cooperation with MONUSCO throughout the electoral process. They further welcomed the commitment by the United Nations, the African Union, Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), International Conference on the Great Lakes, European Union and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie to support the electoral process.
The members the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council called for enhanced coordination between the United Nations, the African Union, the International Conference on the Great Lakes, the SADC, the European Union and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie in their support to the implementation of the 31 December 2016 Agreement and the electoral process.