Southern Africa: SADC Places Pohamba's DRC Mission On Ice

Ruling MPLA party presidential candidate, João Lourenço, during Lobito public rally.
26 April 2018

Windhoek — SADC has noted the substantive progress made in the volatile Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ahead of December 23 general elections and would thus no longer delegate former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba as its special envoy to the former Belgian colony.

SADC had previously announced that Pohamba would be its special envoy to ensure the elections went smoothly. The regional bloc thanked the Namibia former head of state "for his readiness and acceptance to serve" as its DRC envoy.

Despite his constitutionally limited two terms in office having expired at the end of 2016, DRC President Joseph Kabila is still in office, although he is widely expected to leave after elections. The 46-year-old has been in power since January 2001, after his father, Laurent, was assassinated in the presidential palace by a guard.

SADC leaders, including Kabila, met in the Angolan capital Luanda as part of the SADC Double Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government on Tuesday. SADC has tasked political stakeholders in DRC to ensure that the December elections are conducted in a conducive atmosphere.

SADC assured the DRC of its continued support to the electoral process and to the enhancement of political stability, peace and security.

The summit also received reports on the implementation of SADC decisions in the Kingdom of Lesotho and commended the government of that country and all stakeholders for the notable efforts in implementing SADC decisions. The summit endorsed the roadmap for reforms and national dialogue and urged the government of kingdom country to prioritise the constitutional and security sector reforms, which should be completed by May 2019, and a progress report to be presented to the summit in August 2018.

"Summit called upon all political parties and stakeholders in the Kingdom of Lesotho to accord the needed seriousness to the national dialogue and the reforms processes and find lasting solutions to the political and security challenges facing the Kingdom," the communique reads.

The summit congratulated Cyril Ramaphosa on his election as president of South Africa and approved the appointment by the facilitator of a high-profile personality to support Ramaphosa as the facilitator to the Kingdom of Lesotho on a continuous basis. Ramaphosa became president in February after the resignation of Jacob Zuma.

SADC says it has noted the unfolding developments in Madagascar and condemned the loss of lives and destruction of property, and urged the government, political parties and the citizens of that country to remain calm, exercise restraint, and take measures to avoid the escalation of the political and security tensions. "Summit approved the urgent deployment of the SADC Former Special Envoy to Madagascar, His Excellency Joaquim Chissano, the former President of the Republic of Mozambique, to be assisted by the chairperson of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ and the Secretariat to facilitate a national dialogue aimed at the de-escalation of the political tensions and reaching consensus on the electoral process."

"Summit mandated the chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation to engage the African Union (AU), and the United Nations (UN), with a view to developing a common approach for assisting Madagascar."

"Summit commended João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, the President of the Republic of Angola and chairperson of the Organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation for hosting the summit and for the warm hospitality extended to all the delegates."

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