The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

“We don’t want election observers from Arusha!” DR Congo snubs the East African Community

As the Democratic Republic of Congo goes into General Elections, it has just come to light that the East African Community has been barred from sending a team of observers from the EAC Secretariat in Arusha.

General elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo take place on 20 December 2023.

Simultaneous elections are being held for the President, almost all of the members of the National Assembly, almost all of the elected members of the 26 provincial assemblies, and, for the first time under the new constitution, members of a limited number of commune or municipal councils.

Usually the East African Community secretariat outfits a team of observers when any of the EAC member states are holding General Elections.

However, for the case of DR Congo, it seems the authorities in Kinshasa are not exactly interested in having an observer team from Arusha.

There is even an official press statement from the EAC secretariat to that effect. It was released by the EAC Senior Public Relations Officer, Simon Peter Owaka.

“This is to notify EAC Partner States, Development Partners and all other Stakeholders that EAC will not physically be present in DRC to observe her 2023 General Elections as provided for in the Treaty Establishing the East African Community and as it has been the practice since the inception of the EAC,” reads part of the statement.

“This development is due to the fact that although the East African Community (EAC) was ready, the request to undertake the exercise has not been granted by the relevant authorities,” explains the dispatch from Arusha.

“The EAC wishes the Government and the people of DRC peaceful elections and remains committed to discharge our mandate to all Partner States,” concludes the statement.

There is also the French version of the EAC statement as can be seen below

Nous tenons par la présente à informer les États partenaires de l’EAC, les Partenaires de développement et toutes les autres parties prenantes que l’EAC ne sera pas physiquement présente en RDC pour observer les élections générales de 2023, conformément au Traité portant création de la Communauté d’Afrique de l’Est et comme c’est la pratique depuis la création de l’EAC. Cette évolution est expliquée par le fait que, bien que l’EAC ait été prête, sa demande pour une autorisation d’entreprendre l’exercice n’a pas été retenue par les autorités compétentes.

L’EAC souhaite au Gouvernement et au Peuple de la RDC des élections pacifiques et reste engagée à s’acquitter de son mandat auprès de tous les Etats partenaires.

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