Leaders of the Great Lakes region have called on their Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart President Joseph Kabila to ensure the country holds credible and inclusive elections on December 23, 2018.

Following a high-level meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism, the leaders of the region that include Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Rwanda leader Paul Kagame, the regional leadership is concerned with the security of its people in areas around the DRC.

A communique released after Monday’s meeting took note of the activities in the DRC and welcomed the decision by President Kabila not to stand in the forthcoming elections in line with that country’s constitution.

“We took note of the progress made in the preparation for the forthcoming elections in line with the electoral calendar. [We] encouraged the Government of the DRC and all concerned national stakeholders to continue with their efforts to create conducive conditions for credible, inclusive and peaceful elections on 23 December, in full respect of the 31 December 2016 agreement,” the statement reads in part.

The direct reference to the full respect of the Saint

Sylvester Agreement of 2016 is a direct instruction by regional leaders to allow all candidates including those barred to contest the polls.

As well as stipulating President Kabila’s exit, the agreement had settled the participation of exiled opposition leader Moise Katumbi in the 2018 polls.

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