President Edgar Lungu, through Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji, has u-turned on his call for a government of national unity in Congo DR.

President Lungu has instead called for dialogue amongst political players which he says could result in an inclusive government.

In a statement on Sunday, Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda announced that President Lungu, in his capacity as chairperson of the SADC organ on politics, Defense and Security, was calling for a government of national unity in Congo DR, saying it would create some stability.

“His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia says given the strong objections to the provisional results of the presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called on all political leaders to consider a negotiated political settlement for an all-inclusive government. And SADC encourages all stakeholders in the DRC to pursue a negotiated political settlement for a government of national unity,” Chanda stated.

Chanda stated that President Lungu felt a government of national unity was the best way to go for that country.

“SADC draws the attention of the Congolese politicians to similar arrangements that were very successful in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya where governments of national unity created the necessary stability for durable peace,” Chanda quoted President Lungu as saying.
“SADC therefore encourages all parties to enter into a apolitical process towards a government of national unity in order to enhance public confidence, build bridges and reinforce democratic institutions of government and electoral process for a better Congo.”

Chanda stated that SADC had urged DRC authorities to swiftly resolve all elements of doubt that could undermine the fairly successive general elections and pose a danger to the peace and stability of the country and that SADC had taken note of the strong doubts cast on the poll outcomes by the Roman Catholic Church in the DRC which deployed 40,000 monitors, the opposition ‘Lamuka coalition, and the observers and therefore, feels a recount would provide the necessary re-assurance to both winners and losers.

“It is therefore imperative that at this crucial moment, all DRC politicians commit to actions and process that do not escalate tension any further. SADC expresses solidarity with the government and the people of the DRC for organising a relatively successful election that inspires hope that the country was on a path towards democratic consolidation,” stated Chanda.

And Malanji later told SABC news that President Lungu’s call for a government of national unity in that country was an option thrown to the victor of the polls.

“What President Lungu gave was an option that there is room for other stakeholders to have an inclusive government. This is the position which he consulted to start with, he was not speaking as Zambian Head of State, he was speaking as chair of the Organ on Peace and Security, he had consultation from a good number of Heads of State in the region and the indication for inclusive government is an idea thrown to the victor and not a directive,” said Malanji.

But in a statement, Monday, Malanji, who is Head of SADC electoral observer mission in the DRC, stated that President Lungu was calling for dialogue.

“On behalf of the Chair of the Organ of Political Defence and Security His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, I wish to further clarify that following the provisional results of the Presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Southern and African Development Community (SADC) efforts should be focused on reaching a negotiated political settlement through dialogue and inclusiveness. An inclusive government could be the outcome of such negotiations,” stated Malanji.

“In this regard, the Chair wishes to call on all parties to engage in dialogue while recognizing that there are legal processes as provided for in the constitution. Therefore, any consideration for a recount or proposal on perceived electoral irregularities should be left to the sovereign procedures of DRC as may be provided for in the law of that country. His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu calls for a continued environment of peace to prevail in the DEC during this sensitive period.”