The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has opened a liaison office in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support sustainable peace, security and political stability in the war-torn country.
The liaison office on the June 30 Boulevard in Kombe, Kinshasa was officially taken into use on Monday by SADC executive secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
“The office provides an avenue for closer collaboration with stakeholders in the DRC in continued efforts by SADC to support the DRC in attaining sustainable peace, security, political stability and socio-economic development,” an SADC statement said.
“The office will co-ordinate SADC’s ongoing political, electoral and security support initiatives in the DRC. It will also enable SADC to identify specific areas where SADC support is required in liaison with the DRC government, as well as national, continental and regional stakeholders in support of electoral, political, peace and security processes in the DRC.”
The DRC is one of 15 SADC member states the others being Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Tax told those attending the opening ceremony the SADC objectives of economic growth and development, peace, security, poverty alleviation, enhancement of the standard and quality of life of all people of Southern Africa and supporting the socially disadvantaged through regional integration would be part and parcel of daily work at the liaison office.
She emphasised that while co-operating on and supporting member states to consolidate democracy and the rule of law, SADC respects the supremacy of national constitutions and electoral legislation of member states.
“Co-operation in the consolidation of democracy is guided by the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections,” she said.
December 23 has been proposed as election day for DR Congo’s 43 million registered voters to go to the polls to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila.