Kinshasa, 27th December, 2018: The SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2018 Presidential, Legislative and Provincial Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, led by the Alternate Head of Mission, Honourable Mr Justice Ernest Sakala, Former Chief Justice of Zambia, on 27th December, 2018 held discussions with His Excellency Metropolitan Archbishop of Kinshasa Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of the Roman Catholic Church.
In his remarks, Archbishop Besungu referred that the Roman Catholic Church in the DRC has played an important role in various activities leading to the elections scheduled for 30th December, 2018 and said the Church is committed to doing its part to ensure that the electoral process is peaceful, transparent and credible, and that the elections reflect the will of the Congolese people.
The Archbishop underscored the urgent need for stakeholders to safeguard peace before, during and after the elections. On this note, the Archbishop expressed commitment of the Catholic Church to continue engaging political leaders, including presidential candidates with the aim of encouraging them to accept the elections results and resort to lawful means in case they have concerns pertaining to the process.
While thanking the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, H.E. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of Zambia for welcoming a delegation of the Roman Catholic Bishops in Lusaka in September, 2018 and for assurance he provided to support to political stability and peace in the DRC, the Archbishop expressed satisfaction at the SADC presence to observe the elections in the DRC and called on the Electoral Observation Mission to be objective and impartial in its assessment of the elections.
On his part, the SEOM Head of Mission, Hon Justice Sakala thanked the Roman Catholic Church for its relentless efforts in bringing together various political and electoral stakeholders in the DRC, in particular during the facilitation leading to signing of the December 2016 Political Agreement, under which, the forthcoming elections are an important milestone. He pledged the commitment by the SEOM leadership to share the Mission’s observations as part of its observation role in line with the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015).
The Alternate SEOM Head of Mission was accompanied to the meeting by the Director of Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs at the SADC Secretariat, Mr. Jorge Cardoso, representing the Executive Secretary, Ambassador of Angola to the DRC, H.E. Mr. José João Manuel, Ambassador of Zimbabwe to DRC, H.E. Mr. Raphael T. Faranisi and members of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC).