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UN envoy warns of simmering tensions in DRC ahead of 2016 vote.

Oct 13, 2015 Ahead of 2016 elections, Martin Kobler, head of the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo recently told the UN Security Council that lasting peace in the country remains uncertain. Critics of the incumbent president have accused him of manipulating the election calendar in a bid to cling to power at the end of his term.

While addressing the Council, Kobler said:

“Political tensions are running high ahead of the 2016 elections. This will have an impact on the security situation, on the strategic dialogue and ultimately on the fulfillment of our mandate.”

Against the backdrop of President’s perceived attempts to extend his rule, protesters recently stormed the streets of the capital Kinshasa. Rights campaigners accused police and the ruling party officials of recruiting thugs to attack the peaceful opposition rally.

The UN envoy also urged the government to ensure transparent and inclusive election. He stressed that officials should address questions related to the sequencing of the electoral calendar, its budget, and updating the voter registry.

Also addressing the UN, Ignace Gata Mavita wa Lufuta, the Permanent Representative of DRC to the UN, assured delegates that his country was making progress to improve security across the country.

“Today, we can note a significant restoration of state authority throughout the country. At military level three rapid reactions brigade are already up and running, with staff in place and individual and collective equipment plan. Territorial authorities have been created, the police have been deployed, courts and tribunals are up and running once again, IDP and some refugees have begun to return to their homes, the army is present throughout the country to combat armed groups where it is necessary to protect the population,”

The UN peacekeepers, known as MONUSCO, also made public plan to strategically withdraw its forces from the DRC.

“MONUSCO has to gradually withdraw and exit from the Congo. The United Nations’ commitment to the people of the Congo, however, remains steadfast, as MONUSCO’s exit strategy hinges on continued tangible progress on the ground. We cannot, and must not, exist hastily,”

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