SA’s Ramaphosa, Zambia’s Lungu call for completion of DRC vote count

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JOHANNESBURG, January 9 – President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Zambian counterpart, President Edgar Lungu on Wednesday called on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission to speedily finalise the vote tabulation and release the election results in order to maintain the credibility of elections.

The department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) also said that the two presidents have agreed to monitor the situation in DRC and committed SADC’s support and solidarity.

The Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante (CENI) is yet to release the results of the December 30, 2018 polls to choose a successor to long-term President Joseph Kabila after the elections were postponed three times over the last two years.

Dirco said that Lungu, who is the SADC chairperson for the organ on politics, defense, and security cooperation and is on working visit to South Africa, met with Ramaphosa on Wednesday.

During their meeting, Ramaphosa and Lungu were briefed by the foreign minister of Zambia, Joseph Malanj, who led the SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) during elections in the DRC.

The department said that Ramaphosa and Lungu reiterated comments made by SEOM that considering the number of voters, the vast area had to be covered and the new technology implemented by CENI, the elections were generally peaceful and the right to vote was protected.

The two presidents commended the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the DRC security forces for supporting CENI in ensuring that the people vote in a peaceful and secure environment.

Ramaphosa and Lungu underscored that the delay in releasing the results of the elections can lead to suspicions and compromise peace and stability of the country, Dirco said.

The two presidents also called on all the political parties and the generality of Congolese to remain calm and exercise total restraint while waiting for CENI a constitutionally mandated authority to release the final results. (ANA)