Statement on the DRC Presidential and Parliamentary elections held on 28 November 2011
His Excellency Jacob Zuma in his capacity as Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (Troika) and President of the Republic of South Africa would like to congratulate the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo following the successful conclusion of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections held on 28 November 2011.
In holding the second democratic elections, the people of the DRC have shown their determination and will to consolidate peace, enhance national reconciliation, boost the democratic process and lay the foundation for lasting peace as well as economic and social development.
President Zuma has received a report from the SADC Election Observer Mission, led by Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, which began its work on 11 November 2011. The team included representatives from Tanzania and Zambia, both incoming and outgoing Chairpersons of the Organ respectively. The Mission deployed 198 observers in 10 Provinces in the DRC.
The team has reported that elections in the DRC were conducted in accordance with the DRC Electoral Law, the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and the July 2002 Durban OAU Declaration on The Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections in Africa.
In addition, for the first time in the history of election observer missions on the continent, the African Observer Missions to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, issued a joint Declaration which clearly articulates a common position that of support for the people of the DRC. These are the African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (SADC), and International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Economic Community of the Central African States (ECCAS) and the Common Market of East and Southern Africa (COMESA).
The election was conducted under difficult conditions given the technical and logistical challenges that exist in the DRC. The isolated acts of violence during the elections are also regrettable.
The Troika applauds the conduct of the parties in helping to arrest the nearly volatile situation, and appeals to all political leaders, political parties and stakeholders in the DRC to unite during this time and work together to take the democratic process forward, peacefully, putting the country first.
Last night, on 4 December 2011, President Zuma discussed telephonically the elections and the situation currently with the three Presidential candidates, President Joseph Kabila Kabange of the People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), Mr Etienne Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) and Mr Vital Kamerhe of the Union pour la Nation Congolaise (UNC).
“I impressed upon them the need for sound leadership and unity at this time. As SADC we rely on them to ensure that the process going forward is smooth and in line with democratic principles as well as AU and SADC protocols. They assured me of their willingness to cooperate and put the country first,’’ said President Zuma.