UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) --
Following a fire that destroyed Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC) election material, the United Nations on
Thursday appealed to all parties “to assist in the holding of
free and fair” balloting in 10 days.
“We’ve been very
clear, including through the head of the UN mission (MONUSCO)
there, Leila Zerrougui, we are concerned about any actions by
various parties that could impede the holding of elections on
the ground and we are encouraging all parties to assist in the
holding of free and fair elections,” Farhan Haq, deputy UN
“Obviously any sort
of incidents like this are a cause for concern in that respect,”
he told reporters at a regular briefing.
There were reports
earlier this week of violent clashes between factions in the
capital city, Kinshasa.
“The UN Mission in
the DRC, MONUSCO, reported that earlier (Thursday) a large fire
engulfed the independent national electoral commission warehouse
in Kinshasa,” Haq said. “Preliminary reports indicate that
polling station kits from Kinshasa and a large number of voting
machines and other electoral material were destroyed in the
fire-fighting team was rapidly deployed to the scene and helped
to extinguish the fire,” he said. “So far, details surrounding
the cause of the fire are unknown.”
Balloting in the
war-torn and resource-rich DRC is slated for Dec. 23 to
determine a successor to President Joseph Kabila who has been in
office since 2001 when he replaced his assassinated father
Laurent Kabila. Joseph Kabila is not running for re-election,
having stayed beyond his term limit, following cancellation of
the 2016 elections.
Earlier, Haq said UN
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ special representative,
Zerrougui, has expressed her “serious concern” over repeated
incidents hampering the proper conduct of the electoral campaign
in the country.
“She spoke out
against the obstacles some opposition candidates have faced as
they tried to hold public meetings in some cities,” Haq said.
“Deploring the loss of life, Zerrougui urged Congolese
authorities to take all necessary measures to prevent further
“She also voiced her
concern about the interference of some armed groups in the
electoral campaign and stressed the need to respect the rights
to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration,” the
Last month seven UN
peacekeepers from MONUSCO, six from Malawi and another from
Tanzania, were killed in the DRC while on an operation against
one of the warring factions.
tends to hurt African economies: report
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
Political instability tends to peak around
election time for some African nations, which affects economic
growth, according to a report released on Wednesday.
“This scenario tends
to dampen the GDP growth of some countries, since economic
growth shares a complex relationship with both elections and
accompanying political instability,” said the report emailed to
commissioned by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in
England and Wales (ICAEW) and produced by partner and forecaster
Oxford Economics, provides a snapshot of the region’s economic
countries have a positive economic outlook, apart from those
with upcoming elections, the report said.
According to the
report, East Africa continues to report the highest GDP growth
on the continent even though the region’s economic growth is
expected to ease slightly, from 6.8 percent in 2017 to 6.3
percent this year. Ethiopia reported the highest forecast at 7.8
percent, while the lowest forecast for the region was at 3.8
percent by war-torn South Sudan.
Lower growth ranking
for some countries in the region demonstrates how large an
effect political instability can have on economic prospects, the
For example, Kenya’s
growth rebounded to 5.4 percent this year after it dropped to
4.9 percent in 2017. The drop was attributed to political
uncertainty during last year’s elections.
In the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC) where elections will be held in
December, political tensions are set to rise and remain the main
obstacle to the GDP growth forecast of 4.1 percent this year.
narrative is also seen in Southern Africa, being the slowest
region with GDP forecast set to expand only by 1.2 percent.
regarding land and property rights in South Africa ahead of
polls in 2019 has frightened investors, the report said.
The country is
expected to post GDP growth of just 0.7 percent, according to
Zimbabwean government is suffering from post-election
credibility difficulties, with international lenders and
investors unconvinced that the scenario has improved in
Harare—after violence and fraud allegations marred July’s
Egypt, which held
elections in March to overwhelmingly return President Abdel
Fattah al-Sisi to power, is expected to grow by 5.3 percent this
The certainty of
Sisi’s grip on power appears to be helping the country’s
economic rebound, the report said.