Summit discusses DR Congo

DR Congo President Joseph Kabila. He succeeded his assassinated father Laurent Kabila in 2001 but refused to step down at the end of his second and final term in December 2016. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

The presidents of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo were Wednesday holding a tripartite summit in Kinshasa on the situation in the host nation.

Angolan news agency Angop reported that polls in the DR Congo would be top of the discussions between presidents João Lourenço, Joseph Kabila and Denis Sassou N'Guesso.

After much delay, the DR Congo will hold elections on December 23 that are expected to pave the way for the first peaceful transfer of power in the vast mineral-rich country.

The credibility

If successful, the polls would end President Kabila's 17-year-rule, as he is not eligible to contest after two five-year terms in office.

Some 46 million registered voters are expected to cast their ballots to elect a president, members of National Assembly and the provincial legislatures.

The US on Monday urged the DR Congo to scrap plans to use electronic voting for the first time, saying it risked undermining the credibility of the historic polls.

However, the electoral commission president, Mr Corneille Nangaa, said vote machines would reduce costs and the amount of equipment to be deployed in the 90,000 voting stations.

Human Rights Watch's (HWR) Central African director Ida Sawyer told the UN Security Council that the electronic voting machines would "create new opportunities for fraud and the way votes are tallied".

The Security Council was stepping up its focus on the DR Congo as it heads toward the December polls, with concerns over a possible outbreak of violence.

Heads of state

President Kabila, 46, has not yet clearly stated whether he will step aside.

The Wednesday meeting also forms part of regular consultations among the three heads of state of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

Other ICGLR members are Burundi, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.

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