The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told the Democratic Republic of Congo to hold elections next year, rather than delay them until 2019, if it wanted to count on American backing, AFP reports.
“Elections must be held in 2018, (otherwise) the DRC should not count on the support of the United States and the international community,” Haley said, after meeting Corneille Nangaa, head of DRC’s National Electoral Commission (CENI).
“We are not going to support a timetable which doesn’t clearly show that the elections will be held in 2018,” she said. “It is possible (to do), provided all parties get involved.”
Her comments followed an emotional visit to a nearly decade-old camp for Congolese displaced by violence in the country’s east, where she was moved to tears and insisted there has to be a way to hold “safe and fair elections,” Reuters adds.
A group of civil society organizations has issued an urgent appeal to ambassador Haley, calling for a citizen-led transition and asking international partners including the US Government, the European Union and MONUSCO “to withdraw their support for this regime and the current CENI management team which does not intend to ensure that credible elections; and no longer consider President Joseph Kabila and his government as a ‘legitimate authority’ to represent and engage the DRC and its people by the end of December 2017.”
“In order to remedy the bad faith of President Joseph Kabila and his supporters, who use the CENI as a means to an end, Congolese civil society proposes a citizen transition that could allow the credible organization of elections, led by an independent personality who will not present himself as a candidate,” the groups add.
The appeal’s signatories comprise civil society and human rights groups, including La Voix des Sans Voix (VSV) – Voice of the Voiceless(left) and several partners of the National Endowment for Democracy.
“Ambassador Haley should use her visit to tell the Congolese government, stronger pressure is coming down the pike if those tactics continue. It is also an important chance to demonstrate her full-throated supported for civil society groups demanding their democratic rights,” said Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project: “President Kabila’s strategy of using manipulation and violence to stall elections has been successful, uninhibited by the international community’s ad-hoc efforts to support democracy in Congo,” she added.
The DRC’s wealth has been plundered by elites in Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and other neighboring countries, and elsewhere, including by those who directly and indirectly support the commission of mass atrocities, according to The Sentry, a team of policy analysts, regional experts, and financial forensic investigators that follows the money in order to create consequences for those funding and profiting from genocide or other mass atrocities in Africa:
Perpetrators of violence directly control and influence various illicit networks in the country, but they are assisted by a series of facilitators spread across the country and region who provide their local networks logistics and access to the international systems of global finance, trade, and transportation. All these actors operate within a system of violent kleptocracy that sanctions the use of state authority at the highest levels in Congo and the region to privately appropriate the country’s wealth, ensuring a constant feedback loop between corruption and armed conflict.
A new Sentry brief attempts to categorize and provide contextual analysis of the current system of violent kleptocracy in the DRC, and the various incentives and mechanics by which elites use power to enrich themselves.
“Congo’s kleptocratic ruling party concentrates all power and wealth, leaving large swathes of the population completely marginalized and highly motivated to violently contest the status quo,” said John Prendergast, the Sentry’s co-founder. “Because this rot at the core has never been addressed through peace efforts, endless conflict results.”