DRC's Kabila Shifts Elections to Late 2018


In short
The government of President Joseph Kabila has pledged to hold elections on 23 December 2018 paving the way for the DRCs first democratic transition.

Representatives of the Guarantors of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) met on Wednesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss plans for elections in DRC. 

The Framework is comprised of the African Union, the United Nations, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
A joint communique after the meeting held at the African Union Headquarters says the meeting was to review the status of preparations for elections in DRC and discuss coordinated regional and international support to the electoral process.

President Joseph Kabila's administration has pledged to hold elections in December 2018 to pave way for DRC's first democratic transition. 

Opposition groups in DRC have been protesting failure by the President Kabila administration to publish the election date. 

Under an agreement reached with opposition groups last year, elections were to be held this year in the large mineral-rich African country.

The meeting was hosted by the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui and attended by representatives from Angola, Congo and South Africa, as well as the United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region among others.
 The Communique says the Head of the DRC Electoral Commission, Corneille Nangaa, briefed the leaders on the status of preparations for elections.

Nangaa according to the Communique outlined the electoral calendar for holding presidential, legislative and provincial elections on 23 December 2018.  
The latest development indicates that Kabila extends his stay in power for another one year before elections are held.
The meeting in Addis Ababa urged the DRC government to provide the necessary and timely financial and logistical resources to allow for the implementation of the electoral calendar.
It said the government should ensure the required political space throughout the country, including freedom of peaceful assembly and equitable access to state media.
The meeting also encouraged DRC to continue to exert every effort, with the support of the UN peacekeeping force, MONUSCO, to neutralize all the negative forces operating in the eastern part of the country, as well as to ensure security throughout the country to create a conducive environment for elections.

Kabila was propelled into office after his father, Laurent-Desire Kabila, was assassinated in January 2001. He won a first five-year term in 2006 in a poll organised with the help of the large UN mission.

Uganda has been keenly following events and participated in some of them. 

Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi was recently in the Congolese Capital of Brazzaville where he joined other African leaders from the Great Lakes region to discuss peace and security in the region.