President Emmerson Mnangagwa was yesterday night expected to travel to crisis-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to meet with his counterpart Joseph Kabila, his sixth official visit. Mnangagwa has been paying courtesy calls on all regional heads of States and governments.
Sworn in as president on November 24, last year, after 94-year-old Robert Mugabe quit in the wake of a de facto military coup, Mnangagwa has visited former South Africa president Jacob Zuma, who chairs the 16-nation Southern African Development Community (Sadc), then visited Angola President João Lourenço, who chairs the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security (Troika).
He then went to Namibia visiting President Hage Geingob, who is the deputy Sadc chairperson.
After Namibia, he has travelled to Zambia to meet Edgar Lungu, who is the deputy Sadc Troika chairperson.
He also travelled to Botswana where he met with his counterpart Ian Khama.
He is now heading to DRC.
Simon Khaya Moyo the acting minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, said the president’s visit is part of the sojourns he has been undertaking to brief the Sadc heads of State on the state of affairs in Zimbabwe since Mugabe’s resignation last November.
“The president has been travelling to Sadc countries. DRC is a Sadc country. He is visiting Sadc countries to brief them on the new dispensation, as you know he has already visited five or so other countries in the Sadc region,” Khaya-Moyo said.
Mnangagwa arrives in DRC at a time of deadly tension, with at least two people having been killed and dozens more injured on Sunday when security forces cracked down on church-led demonstrations against Kabila.
In addition to the dead, who were killed in the capital, Kinshasa and the western city of Mbandaka, the head of Congo’s UN mission, Leila Zerrougui, said 47 people were injured and more than 100 were arrested across the country.
In power since 2001, Kabila struck a deal with the main opposition bloc to stay on after his elected mandate expired in December 2016, but authorities missed a deadline to hold elections last year as required under the agreement.
Officials have hinted that a new December poll date may not even be possible due to financial and logistical constraints.
Khama, one of Africa’s most outspoken leaders, said it is clear that Kabila was “driven by self-interest”, instead of those of the people he governs in illegally clinging to power.
“Botswana therefore, urges the international community to put more pressure on the leadership in the DRC to relinquish power and pave the way for the ushering-in of a new political dispensation,” the Botswana government said in a statement. DailyNews