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CONGO ELECTORAL FRAUD: SADC Must Act On Imminent Injustice Against Katumbi; Implosion Of DRC Will Spill Over To Zambia & Region, Says Veteran Journalist M’membe

Veteran Zambian journalist turned politician Fred M’membe has called on SADC leaders to act against elements of electoral fraud observed in the run-up to the December 20, 2023 presidential elections with top on the agenda a scheme to eliminate popular opposition president Moise Katumbi from the presidential race.

Dr. M’membe, now president of the opposition Socialist Party in Zambia, says the implosion of the DRC arising from electoral fraud will have dire consequences on Zambia, the SADC region and the world at large.

The award winning journalist who is also a qualified and practicing Zambian lawyer has questioned President Hakainde Hichilema’s silence on the situation in the DRC especially that the Zambian leader is Chairman of a SADC organ on politics.

“To have peaceful, free and fair December elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), certain conditions have to prevail in the country and the hearts of the Congolese people.

“There ought to be a conducive atmosphere. The concerns of all key players must be adequately addressed.

“We, therefore, call upon SADC to take keen interest in the unfortunate occurrences in DRC ahead of the December parliamentary and presidential elections and help the key players resolve their differences and disagreements.

“The judicial criminality and electoral fraud, which is currently brewing in the DRC shouldn’t be allowed to continue. It’s the responsibility of SADC through the organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (Troika), which is presently chaired by Mr Hakainde Hichilema to help the Congolese have peaceful, free and fair election.

“The Troika’s mandate is to steer and provide member states with guidance regarding matters that threaten peace, security and stability in the region. And the current situation obtaining in the DRC qualifies for immediate SADC action or intervention before it’s too late.

“As current chairperson of the organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Mr Hichilema must draw a commitment from Mr Felix Tshisekedi for free and fair elections in the DRC. The current attempts by Mr Tshisekedi to use the court system to stay in power at all cost must be condemned and halted forthwith.

“We are aware that Mr Tshisekedi is trying to use the courts to remove strong opponents he fears like Mr Moise Chapwe Katumbi from the December elections ballot paper.

“This brazen attempt was exposed in the recent events where Mr Katumbi’s candidature was challenged in the Constitutional Court. Equally, Mr Tshisekedi’s candidature was challenged in the same court and the petitioners in both matters lodged their petitions the same day on October 23, 2023. This was after the deadline for filing petitions had lapsed.

“However, in Mr Tshisekedi’s matter, the DRC Constitutional Court, decided not hear the matter on account of the petition being filed out of time. But surprisingly, the same court went ahead to rule that they would go ahead and hear Mr Katumbi’s matter. This is in the face of both petitions being filed the same day and passed the deadline. How can one matter be admissible and the other be inadmissible in the same court? What type of electoral fraud is this? What type of judicial criminality is this? Why is Mr Tshisekedi scared of the will of the people? And why is Mr Hichilema, who is the incumbent chairperson of the SADC organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation conveniently silent? Is it because he is now friends with Mr Tshisekedi?

“We would like to caution Mr Hichilema to neutrally look into these matters because as it stands now, the DRC is on the verge of a major electoral crisis, which might plunge the country into chaos. Mr Hichilema must be concerned with Mr Tshisekedi’s irresponsible attempts to eliminate a strong candidate – Mr Katumbi – because once the DRC implodes, its SADC and Zambia in particular that will bear the consequences of the humanitarian crisis that will unfold.

“Therefore, it is in the best interest of SADC and Mr Hichilema in particular to proactively address the electoral process ahead of the December parliamentary and presidential elections before the situation degenerates into chaos.

“Allowing the current judicial criminality and electoral fraud in the DRC to continue without any intervention from SADC is postponing trouble for the region,” said Dr. M’membe

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