AFRICAN UNION MEDIATES POTENTIAL ELECTORAL DISPUTES IN DR CONGO, GABON

ADDIS ABABA,The African Union (AU) is mediating to resolve potential electoral disputes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and Gabon.

Speaking on Saturday at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing 29th AU Summit being held from June 27 to July 4 in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Minata Samate Cessouma, commissioner for Political Affairs at the AU, said resolving electoral disputes is at the heart of ensuring welfare of the continent’s youth.

DR Congo is facing a protracted political and military crisis mainly triggered by delay of presidential elections slated first to have been held in 2016 to replace outgoing president Joseph Kabila.

Meanwhile, parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in Gabon on July 29, with opponents to the current president Ali Bongo accusing his government of planning to rig the election.

“Electoral disputes which lead to violence create refugees with youth, children and women being the main victims,” said Cessouma.

Khabele Matlosa, Director of Department of Political Affairs at the AU, said that state bodies trusted with holding elections need to effectively work if violence is to be avoided.

In 2017, 18 elections are expected to be held in Africa, in particular like the DR Congo’s presidential elections to be keenly watched on whether the continent can move out of electoral violence.

With more than 60 percent of Africa’s 1 billion plus population being youth, both officials called for an inclusive political process in African countries or risk youth being used as electoral violence tools.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK