President Paul Kagame called on African leaders to increasingly engage in solving the continent’s challenges in order to avoid meddling by foreign players.
Kagame, who is also the Chairperson of the African Union, was speaking yesterday at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he convened a High Level Consultation meeting of Heads of State on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The meeting was attended by Heads of States of SADC member countries led by President Hage Geingob of Namibia as well as President Sassou Nguesso representing ICGLR, President Museveni representing the East African Community, President Deby representing ECCAS. Heads of State and Government or their representatives from ECOWAS, IGAD, African members of the UN Security Council, the AU troika were also in attendance.
The summit follows the highly contested DR Congo elections held on December 30, last year where the country’s electoral commission, Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), declared Felix Tshisekedi as the winner. Tshisekedi has been accused of striking a deal with Kabila to declare him as the victor. Tshisekedi and Kabila have both denied these accusations.
Martin Fayulu—the runner up—submitted filed a petition to the Constitutional court claiming that the results show that he won by a landslide. The Catholic Church CENCO whose observers were the only independent observers present at all poll stations have backed the claim that the results at the poll do not match the ones announced by CENI.
Yesterday’s meeting Addis saw both the African Union and regional bodies come together to find a common solution.
“When we have not come together like this to find solutions to our problems…it's one way of inviting outsiders, people outside of our continent, to meddle and be the ones to get busy with us trying to find solutions for us,” Kagame said.
Kagame said that meeting intended to present a solution to a long-standing challenge and express solidarity to the citizens of the country.
“The people and the leaders of that country are expecting that neighbours and other countries on our continent will express solidarity with them and work with them towards resolution of the problem faced in DRC,” he said.
Kagame said that the involvement of AU and countries around DRC was out of a realisation that the country requires support from the bloc and its neighbours. He added that he had consulted with the Chairperson of the AU Commission and some leaders of the continent, many of them neighbours of Congo.
By such consultations, the AU Chairperson said, they are likely to understand the root of the problem, as well as possible solutions.
Kagame said he contacted the President of DRC, President Joseph Kabila, and extended the invitation to him as well.
Kabila, who signalled his desire to participate in the meeting but could not because of the tense situation sent a delegation to participate in the discussion.
A communique issued at the end of the summit indicated that the Heads of State and Government attending the meeting concluded that there "were serious doubts on the conformity of the provisional results, as proclaimed by the National Independent Electoral Commission, with the votes cast."
The Heads of State and Government also called for the suspension of proclamation of the results of the election.
The summit also agreed that a high level African delegation including the Chairperson of the African Union, President Kagame, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and other heads of state will hold a meeting in Kinshasa, "with all Congolese stakeholders, with the view to reaching a consensus on a way out of the post-electoral crisis in the country."
The summit concluded by calling the relevant actors in the DRC to cooperate with the high level delegation in the interest of a peaceful resolution to the crisis.