26 April 2018

Southern Africa: Lesotho, Madagascar, DRC - SADC Expresses Concern, Dispatches Emissaries

Heads of State from the regional bloc met in the Angolan capital, Luanda, on April 24, 2018.

Leaders of the Southern Africa Development Community, SADC, meeting in Luanda, the Angolan capital, on April 24, 2018, discussed the political crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, Lesotho and Madagascar - all caused by disagreements over electoral issues. Radio France International, RFI, reported that the meeting was attended by seven Heads of State.

In their statement, SADC leaders called for calm and restraint in Madagascar, and decided to urgently dispatch Special Envoy and former Mozambican President, Joachim Chissano, to facilitate national dialogue in order to arrive at consensus on the electoral process. In this light, SADC intends to work together with the African Union and the United Nations. Concerning the crisis in Lesotho, leaders extended by six months the mandate of SADC's stabilisation mission in the country.

Five years after the failed military takeover, parliamentary elections held last June in a tense atmosphere. On September 5, 2018, dissident soldiers assassinated Army Chief, Lt.Gen. Khoantle Motsomotso, and two other senior officers. SADC called on the DRC and Lesotho governments to conclude constitutional and security reforms by May 2019 in order to end recurrent instability. On DRC, the leaders appealed for respect of the electoral calendar and an environment conducive for holding free and fair polls.

They also expressed satisfaction with the progress made by DRC and Lesotho. Earlier plans to send former Namibian leader, Hifikepunye Pohamba as emissary to the Democratic Republic of Congo to help implement the December 31, 2017 deal between government and the opposition were dropped after Kinshasa expressed discomfort and explained the progress made in preparing elections on December 23, 2018. "Now that DRC has made so much progress, it is no longer necessary to have a special envoy because they are going to consolidate the progress," South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who chaired the summit, explained .

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