- U.S. Envoy to UN Says Congo Must Hold 2018 Elections
Democratic Republic of Congo must hold a delayed vote to replace President Joseph Kabila in 2018 or face losing international backing for the election, according to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
“These elections must take place in 2018 or there will be no support for the electoral process,” U.S. envoy Nikki Haley said Friday after a meeting with the Independent Electoral Commission in the central African nation’s capital, Kinshasa. “The United States will not support anything in 2019, the international community will not support anything in 2019.”
Kabila, who’s led Congo since 2001, was meant to step down at the end of his second term in December 2016 following an election to find his successor. That vote was delayed and Kabila continued in office, sparking protests in which dozens of people were killed by security forces. On Dec. 31, opposition groups struck a deal with Kabila’s coalition, accepting he could remain in power if presidential and parliamentary elections were held this year.
That accord suffered a blow this month when CENI, which has not yet finished enrolling voters, said it will need 504 days to arrange elections once the registration process is completed. During the meeting with Haley, CENI President Corneille Nangaa had called on the international community to “clarify the modalities” of the support it intends to provide to the electoral process, according to a statement published by the commission.
The meeting with Haley was “essentially a private talk,” Kabila’s deputy head of staff, Jean-Pierre Kambila, said by phone.
“It isn’t her who fixes the calendar for elections,” he said. “She gave an opinion that the United States is not willing to participate in financing if elections do not happen in 2018.”