President Paul Kagame who is the Chairperson of the African Union has expressed confidence in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to handle upcoming Presidential elections process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The President, who was today, August 17, 2018, addressing the 38th Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Windhoek, Namibia, said SADC can handle it just like it had done in Zimbabwe.
On August 3, 2018, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) declared President Emerson Mnangagwa the winner of Presidential elections with 50.8% of votes, compared to 44.3% for opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
The opposition claimed the election was rigged – calling for protests across the country.
This month, President Joseph Kabila of DRC announced he will not run for President in the December elections.
“We can all be pleased the SADC and the AU accompanied the political process in Zimbabwe and now matters are before the courts. SADC has a similar role to play in DRC,” Kagame said.
“SADC has accomplished this task in the past in handling political and security issues in Lesotho and Madagascar and recently Comoros. You will be called upon to do the same again as was the case with Zimbabwe in the recent past,” he added.
The President added that: “We applaud the latest developments showing follow-through of the Constitution and the Agreement of 31 December 2016. This is an important step as agreed by the people of this great country. You can count on the AU as a partner if you need support,” he added.
Kagame said that that the role of regional bodies and timely collaboration with African Union have proved invaluable in conflict resolution on the continent.
With existence of regional bodies, Kagame said, “Issues raised by individual Member States continue to be addressed in a flexible and consultative manner. This irreversible process is critically important for us to deliver on key pillars of Agenda 2063 for the Africa we want and deserve.”
Equally, Kagame said, “the long-term prosperity and security of Africa depend on creating the conditions and environment that enable our young people to achieve their full potential right here at home.”
In his opening remarks, Namibia President Hage Geingob congratulated President Emerson Mnangangwa and the people of Zimbabwe for having organised peaceful harmonious elections.
“We are confident that peace will be maintained and regardless of court outcome,” he said.
Kagame who also leads a reform process of the African Union, said that the prosperity of the continent cannot be realized without free movement of people.
“The theme of the Summit could not be more pertinent to Africa’s transformation agenda. Infrastructure development as well as the free movement of persons are key to translating our aspirations into practical results for our citizens,” he said.
On March 21, 50 African countries signed the historic Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – an agreement that will create a single African market.
Of this number, 43 countries also signed the Kigali declaration while 27 countries signed the protocol of the free movement of people.
Kagame told the summit that Africans have the capacity to do more for their continent both individually and collectively.
“We have the ability to do more for our countries individually, but even better, collectively. Today more than ever collaboration among African countries is not a choice. It is an imperative in real terms,” he said.
The Summit, which runs from 17-18 August, is held under the theme “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development” and focuses on sustainable growth through a conducive environment for industrialisation processes.
At the Summit, President Hage Geingob of Namibia will be taking over the SADC Chairmanship from President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
Formed in 1980, SADC aims to facilitate regional economic integration between Member States and within the continent.
It has 16 Member States including Angola, Botswana, Comoros (since 2017), DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, the Kingdom of eSwatini, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.