United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on the losing candidates in the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and their supporters “to peacefully accept” the result after the Supreme Court declared President Joseph Kabila the winner.
“Neither the people of the DRC nor the international community will tolerate the actions of those who may try to undermine the process,” he said in a statement issued by his spokesman on the elections aimed at consolidating the vast country’s democratic transition following years of civil war and factional fighting.
The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba’s challenge to the results of the 29 October presidential run-off, the culmination of the largest and most complex elections that the UN has ever helped to organize, and the DRC’s first democratic polls in more than four decades.
Mr. Annan hailed the determination of the Congolese people that enabled the elections to be held, thanked the international community for its significant electoral and other support, and called on donors to generously assist the newly-elected authorities.
“The Secretary-General emphasizes the key role that a political opposition can and must play in any democracy, and encourages the people and parties of the DRC to pursue an inclusive political process in addressing the many reconstruction and security challenges facing the country,” the statement added. He called on the new Government to take all necessary action to ensure the speedy election of local representatives.
The UN mission in the DRC (MONUC) pledged its support for Mr. Kabila and called on both him and Mr. Bemba to abide by their agreement to respect the decision of the Independent Electoral Commission.
“Aware of the challenges that lie ahead for the new Government, including the economic and social development of the country to the benefit of its people, MONUC pledges its full support to the President, Government and people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as they consolidate the peace and democratic processes, and build a prosperous future,” MONUC said in a statement.
The elections aim to cement the country’s fragile stability after a brutal six-year civil war, which cost 4 million lives through fighting and attendant hunger and disease. Factional fighting has remained a problem since the end of the war, especially in the east, where only yesterday UN peacekeepers helped the army halt an advance by dissident soldiers on the town of Goma.
Last week, UN peacekeepers shot into the air to disperse Mr. Bemba’s supporters in Kinshasa, the capital, after demonstrators opened fire and set the Supreme Court and a police vehicle ablaze.