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SADC discusses disputed polls in Zimbabwe and DRC security situation

President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia, who is also the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Troika chairperson on Wednesday convened an Extraordinary SADC summit to discuss the disputed elections held in Zimbabwe and the security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The meeting was attended virtually by Namibian President Hage Geingob, DRC leader Felix Tshisekedi and Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu.

In a statement, Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said the leaders tabled the SADC Electoral Observation Mission report on Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections as well as other impending elections in the SADC region and the security situation in DRC.

“The Summit will deliberate on the security situation in eastern DRC, updates of pledged critical capabilities for SADC Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (SAMIDRC) and progress made towards deployment in the eastern DRC, particularly the revised indicative budget for the SAMIDRC.

“It is in Zambia’s interest to support efforts towards the SADC Mission in DRC in order to maintain regional peace and stability, a prerequisite for advancing intra-regional trade and investment, which are critical for socio-economic development,” read the statement.

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“The deployment of a Brigade-size Force in support of the DRC for an initial period of 12 months, beginning on September 30, 2023, was approved at the Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit Plus SADC Troika and Force Intervention Brigade Troop Contributing Countries (FIB TCCs) and the DRC on May 11, 2023. in Windhoek, Namibia.

“Additionally, the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) report on the harmonised elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe as well as other impending elections in the SADC region will also be discussed at the Summit.

“The values and principles that underpin the promotion of democracy and good governance are also the foundation of Zambia’s foreign policy.”

Zimbabwe’s plebiscite was not endorsed as free and fair by SADC and several international observers following massive irregularities including voter suppression and late ballot delivery.

Incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa emerged as winner in the controversial election with 52,6% of the vote against the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa’s 44%.

Chamisa is calling for fresh elections supervised by SADC.