Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Elections Status

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 161

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 26 OF 2006

THE HON. R S NTULI (ANC) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Whether, in light of the fact that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has completed its first round of elections, followed by violence after the announcement on 20 August 2006, peace will hold in the DRC; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?
N1325E

REPLY:

The provisional presidential results that were announced 20 August 2006 were regrettably followed by violent clashes between the MLC soldiers (of Vice President Bemba's party) and President Kabila's Presidential Guard, (GSSP). The shooting continued from 20 to 22 August 2006, leaving about 25 people dead and many more injured.

With the assistance of the International Committee in Support of the Transition (CIAT) and MONUC, an agreement was reached on 22 August 2006. The agreement called for cessation of hostilities between the warring groups. In this regard, the heads of the armies of the warring groups signed the agreement committing themselves to certain agreed conditions. It was agreed that the warring factions return to their positions occupied prior to 20 August 2006. As part of the agreement verification team (military related committee), consisting of MONUC, National Police (PNC), DRC Ministry of Defence, EUFOR and representatives of the warring groups, was formed to ensure adherence to the agreement.

Following the establishment of this verification team, PNC, MONUC, EUFOR conducted joint patrols in the Kinshasa City to maintain peace. The work of this verification team is expected to continue until the second round of the elections. Thus far, peace has returned to Kinshasa.

The second commission formed as part of the agreement is the Joint Commission, which deals with political matters. This commission has not yet met. The Commission is comprised of two sub-commissions to investigate what happened on 20, 21 and 22 August 2006 and to deal with complaints from the two sides as well as to establish the rules according to which the parties will act and interact in the run-up to the second round of the presidential elections. One of the proposals is that Kinshasa should become a gun free city with only the bodyguards (a limited number) and the PNC carrying arms. The sub-commissions were supposed to start their work on 30 August 2006.

CIAT has also recommended that a meeting be held between the two presidential candidates, President Kabila and Vice President Bemba. This meeting is yet to take place but it is expected that it will take place as both parties agreed to a meeting.

The High Media Authority (HAM) has also launched a Code of Conduct for the media. This comes after the suspension of two television stations for failure to adhere to the moral obligation of balanced journalism and the incidents of blatant inciting of people to acts of violence after the announcement of the provisional results of the presidential election. A number of television stations have signed the agreement, including the suspended stations, and it is expected that all media will sign the code of conduct.

The international community, through the MONUC; CIAT; Committee of the Wise and all interested countries in support of the peace process in the DRC, is seized with the political process in the DRC interacting in various forms with the political leadership in that country to ensure that the prevailing peace is maintained and the country prepares for the second round of the presidential elections in a conducive environment.





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