EU condemns DR Congo’s expulsion of ambassador

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The European Union on Friday condemned the Democratic Republic of Congo’s decision to expel its ambassador ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for Sunday December 30.

The DR Congo on Thursday ordered the EU to recall Ambassador Bart Ouvry from Kinshasa in 48 hours, in retaliation to the union’s sanctions laid against 14 Congolese officials, including President Joseph Kabila’s preferred candidate for the December 30 Presidential election.

“The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo urges the European Council to proceed without fail in recalling its head of mission within 48 hours,” Foreign Minister Leonard She Okitundu said.

The run up to the DR Congo delayed elections has been marred with violence, which saw a warehouse storing voting materials burned down earlier this month.

The DR Congo presidential vote was initially scheduled for November 2016, but the electoral body, CENI, said it was not able to conduct the poll due to logistical challenges.

Opposition leaders accused President Joseph Kabila of frustrating the elections as a means of clinging on to power, allegations he denied.

Should the elections now go on smoothly as planned, this will be the first time the DR Congo witnesses a peaceful transfer of power since its independence in 1960.