JOHANNESBURG – The European Union (EU) has threatened to stop funding the upcoming elections if the Democratic Republic of Congo fails to end “harassment” of the opposition and civil society.
In a statement, the 28-nation bloc made it clear that they will not tolerate any actions that are contravening with human rights in any country.
The EU detailed a long list of human rights infringements, including, “acts of harassment toward opposition political figures, representatives of the media and civil society and defenders of human rights.”
The statement also urged the Kinshasa government to uphold the timetable of the much-delayed elections, and to equally promote free and fair elections for the benefit of all citizens in DRC.
“The EU calls on the respect for freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration,” the statement reads, warning “the EU will evaluate implementation (of these measures) in implementing its technical and financial support” for the elections.
DR Congo’s former colonial power, Belgium says it has earmarked five million euros ($5.89 million) in funding for the election and the amount will be released as soon as conditions are appropriate.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been in a grip of political, social and economic crisis ever since President Joseph Kabila took the reins in 2001, after his father Laurent Kabila was assassinated.
Initially scheduled to be held by the end of 2017, the presidential elections in DRC has been postponed and scheduled for December 23, 2018.