Election timetable, budget, essential to ease "political tensions" in DRC

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Maman S. Sidikou, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). UN Photo/Kim Haughton (file)

The publication of an election timetable and budget are essential to ease rising political tensions across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the head of the UN Mission in the country said on Wednesday.

MONUSCO chief Mama Sambo Sidikou told the Security Council that despite the likelihood that fresh parliamentary and presidential elections would not be held before the end of the year, progress had been made on voter registration.

Ana Carmo has more details.

Special Representative Sidikou told Council members that it was unlikely the agreement reached between DRC's political leaders at the end of last year to hold fresh elections by the end of 2017, would materialize.

He said this was fuelling a "climate of uncertainty" at a time when fighting between armed groups and government forces – especially in the Kasai region – was leading to civilian displacement and a worsening humanitarian situation.

The MONUSCO chief condemned the killing just a few days ago of two blue helmets following an attack on their base in North Kivu.

Last December's agreement ended months of instability surrounding President Joseph Kabila, who was supposed to step down at the end of his second term.

The agreement will see him remain in office until new elections.

Mr Sidikou told the Council that despite insecurity and violence, some political progress was being made.

 "In relation to attaining progress towards the holding of elections, while the publication of an electoral calendar and budget remain key milestones in the political process – and will be essential towards lowering political tensions and uncertainty over a way forward – it is important to note that progress has been made in regard to the voter registration process."

Mr Sidikou said that the budget in support of new elections was only six per cent funded, but despite that, around 41 million voters had been registered, 48 per cent of them, women.

Ana Carmo, United Nations.

Duration: 1’24″

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