With the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government transition process at a standstill, the African Union (AU) and other international partners said Thursday that all parties to the negotiated December 31 agreement need to return to the ongoing dialogue and begin the formal framework leading to new elections.
The AU, along with the United Nations, European Union and International Organization of La Francophonie, issued a joint statement expressing their concern over the stalled process.
“The four partner organizations note that six weeks after agreeing on the modalities of a transition period leading to the holding of peaceful and credible elections by December 2017, the parties are yet to conclude discussions on the effective implementation of the agreement,” the statement said.
The situation has the “potential to undermine the political goodwill” that led to the signing of the agreement, they said, urging both President Joseph Kabila’s majority and the political opposition to redouble their efforts.
The statement comes as the Congolese government announced it cannot afford to pay USD$1.8 billion to fund a new election – a claim challenged by opposition politicians.
The death two weeks ago of Etienne Tshisekedi, the head of the Rassemblement coalition, has cast further shadows on the process. Tshisekedi was expected to help lead the Implementation Council dialogue to oversee the one-year transition.
The National Episcopal Conference (CENCO) bishops who brokered the deal also have called on all social and political actors to honor Tshisekedi’s death by moving forward with the agreement.