On 16th April 2018, the Government of the Democratic of Congo (DRC) handed over office space to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to be used as the SADC Liaison Office in the DRC. The Office was officially opened by the Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, at a launching ceremony held on the same day. Mr. Jean-Pierre Kambila Kankwende, the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the President of the DRC, handed over the Liaison office keys to the SADC Executive Secretary and the Ambassador of the Republic of Angola to the DRC who was representing the Chair of the Organ. The ceremony was attended by SADC Ambassadors accredited to the DRC, Representatives of the Government of the DRC, Political Parties, Religious Organizations, Continental and International Cooperating Partners, Civil Society Organizations, and the media.
The office, which is located on 30 June Boulevard, in Gombe, Kinshasa enhances SADC presence in the DRC, and provides an avenue for closer collaboration with stakeholders in the DRC, in the continued efforts by SADC to support the DRC attain sustainable peace, security, political stability and thus, socio-economic development. Among others, the SADC Liaison Office in the DRC will serve to coordinate SADC’s ongoing political, electoral and security support initiatives in the DRC. The office will also enable SADC to identify specific areas where SADC support is required in liaison with the DRC Government, as well as national, continental and regional stakeholders in support of electoral, political, peace and security processes in the DRC.
In her remarks the Executive Secretary pointed out that, the objectives of SADC are to achieve economic growth and development, peace, security, poverty alleviation, the enhancement of the standard and quality of life of the people of Southern Africa and support the socially disadvantaged through Regional Integration. She also underscored that, while cooperating on, and supporting its Member States to consolidate democracy and the rule of law, SADC respects the supremacy of national constitutions and electoral legislation of its member states. Cooperation in the consolidation of democracy is guided by SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
The Executive Secretary commended the DRC government, political parties, the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), religious organizations, Non State Actors, and other stakeholders for their efforts and progress made in ensuring peace and stability in the DRC. She implored stakeholders in the DRC to refrain from any form of violence and find amicable ways of resolving their differences in order to create a conducive environment for the conduct of peaceful, free and credible elections in December 2018.Remarks by the SADC Executice Secretary-DRC Mission-Operationalisation of the SADC Office
Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax had led a delegation to Kinshasa, that comprised of SADC Secretariat staff and Senior Officers seconded by SADC Organ Troika Member States to operationalize the SADC Office in the DRC from 14th to 17th April 2018. The Mission was supported by SADC Ambassadors accredited to the DRC.