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SADC FAILS TO DECLARE DRC ELECTION FREE, FAIR OR CREDILE: Hichilema Departs From Traditional Statement Only To State The Other Obvious

In the face of a copious of irregularities that have characterized the Congolese vote, the regional body could not take its habitual stance to declare the election as free and fair or credible.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) have failed to declare the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 2023 General Elections as free and fair or credible following a great deal of anomalies observed.

In a statement released on Thursday, the SADC Organ on Political, Defence and Security Cooperation through Chairperson and Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema could give its position on the democratic state of the DRC’s polls held on 20th and 21st December.

“The SADC deployed its Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the DRC on 06 December 2023 to observe the elections. The SEOM is a fundamental mechanism of our Community, designed to consolidate democracy, which is defined by regular, credible, free, fair, peaceful and transparent electoral processes. Accordingly, the SEOM is implementing the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections to observe these elections. These Principles and Guidelines require the full, free, and inclusive participation of all citizens in the electoral and democratic processes in all SADC Member States.

“Therefore, we remain seized with the ongoing processes that have led to the extension of the voting period, initially scheduled for 20 December 2023, to 21 December 2023. We trust that the ongoing procedures will peacefully take place and call on all national stakeholders to the electoral process, and the people of the DRC to safeguard the peaceful conduct of the elections. We fervently hope our region, the continent, and the International Community will witness a peaceful election in the DRC,” Hichilema, the Zambian President, said.

The 2023 General Elections in the DRC have been marred with a number of irregularities likely to compromise the democracy of the elections.

The Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) could not provide and on time electoral materials and equipment in several areas and had to go against the constitution by stretching voting to the next day after Wednesday in order to conclusively hold the election.

Several other irregularities were also noted including malfunction of CENI’s voting equipment, delays in opening of polling stations as well as violence instigated by armed militants of the ruling government in some parts of the DRC.

Meanwhile, SADC reiterated that it’s Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) currently in monitoring the election will ensure to base its analysis on the body’s principles of full, free, and inclusive participation of all citizens.

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