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Congolese presidential contenders will respect neutrality of security forces, UN says

Congolese presidential contenders will respect neutrality of security forces, UN says

As part of a series of agreements to abide by the outcome of the Congolese presidential elections, the contenders have pledged to respect the apolitical character of the national security services, the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) said today.

In this latest “Acte d’Engagement,” representatives of President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba agreed to respect strictly the chain of command of the armed forces and police, to encourage their supporters to cooperate with them, and to abstain from influencing them for political reasons, according to the Mission.

The Mission notes that this latest agreement is crucial to help ease tensions ahead of the official release of the results of last month’s runoff election, which is expected on 19 November.

Last week, the candidates reaffirmed their commitment to support the Independent Electoral Commission, which was tallying the votes, and to refrain from speculating on the outcome of the election, which was the first to be held in the country in over four decades.

Rampant speculation on the final tally triggered the IEC to issue preliminary results last week, when the Congolese High Authority on Media said it would impose sanctions on local media outlets that might deliberately misrepresent or disrupt the proper announcement of the election results, according to MONUC.

MONUC currently has over 18,000 uniformed personnel in the DRC to help the country conduct the massive poll and rebuild from the six-year conflict which ended in 1999.