UN remains ready for mediation in DRC if requested

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The United Nations says it remains ready to assist in mediation if all political sides in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) request such an intervention.

The global organisation’s remarks come amidst regional calls for a negotiated settlement that could lead to a Government of National Unity or a possible recount at the discretion of national authorities in the country.

The electoral authority in the DRC earlier announced Feliz Tshisekedi as the provisional winner of the presidential election, but runner-up Martin Fayulu has challenged the outcome in the country’s Constitutional Court.

SADC’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security has since clarified earlier statements calling for a ballot recount, now focusing its efforts on reaching a negotiated settlement through dialogue and inclusiveness.

“ It’s not for me to comment on what SADC says. We continue obviously to monitor the developments closely. We are in touch on the ground with all the relevant stakeholders, I think what is important is that the constitutional process follows its way. We’ve seen the latest developments on that end. It is also important that everyone remains calm and we will continue to follow and support what is a Congolese owned process in whatever way we can,” says UN Secretary General’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

Asked whether the UN foresees any role for itself or the organisation, its good offices in possible mediation talks between the political parties in that country, Dujarric responded: “As always, the UN remains available for good offices should all sides request it and that’s valid for any situation.”

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu Chairs the SADC organ and has since called for DRC political parties to engage in dialogue while recognizing the legal processes underway as provided by the constitution.

His latest statement says any conditions for a recount should be left to the sovereign internal procedures of the DRC.

This new language has the backing of South Africa’s Department of International Relations that while earlier appearing to support a government of national unity as a possible outcome, now says it will not pre-empt the internal process underway in the DRC.

Their statement Monday says South Africa will therefore not prescribe a form of government or presuppose the outcome of the electoral process.

“The coming days are therefore critical to the conclusion of this historic electoral process. I continue to discharge my good offices, engaging with all Congolese stakeholders to reinforce the need for calm and recourse to established judicial procedures, and to emphasize that a supreme sense of responsibility must prevail though the days ahead,” said the Secretary General’s Special Representative to the DRC, Leila Zerrougui speaking in the Security Council on Friday.

UK Ambassador Karen Pierce, speaking in the same meeting, made several points on the disputed outcome. “We have noted the CENCO statement that their data does not reflect the announced result and we therefore request both CENCO and CENI to give further data and other analysis in the electoral process and we, like others, would like to know if it is possible for CENI to publish results at the level of local polling centres and bureaux de vote.

“We think that’s a very important next step, Mr President. My third point is that as we know the electoral process is ongoing, so it’s important in the coming days that the Congolese people see a process that delivers what they voted for and that any disagreement is done through the proper channels and is done peacefully and constructively,” Pierce explained.

The DRC Catholic Church or CENCO has raised concerns about the accuracy of the announced vote count while the country’s Constitutional Court is expected to rule on Fayulu’s challenge in the days ahead. Click below for more on DRC elections.