The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has blocked observers from the East African Community (EAC) from observing the hotly contested presidential elections slated for tomorrow.
EAC said the country which is a member of the block has not yet approved their request to observe the polls.
The DRC, however, had allowed Africa Union and Southern African Development (SADC) observers to participate in the observation of the polls raising the tension between the country and the regional block.
“This is to notify the EAC States, development partners and all other stakeholders that EAC will not physically be present in DRC to observe her 2023 General Elections as the practice has been since the inception of EAC.” They said in a statement.
“Although EAC was ready, the request to undertake the exercise has not been granted by the relevant authorities in DRC. We wish the government and the people of DRC peaceful elections and remain committed to discharge our mandate to all Partner States.” The statement added.
It is not yet clear why DRC president Felix Tshisekedi opted to restrict EAC from observing the elections.
This comes a few days after Kinshasa refused to renew the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) mandate that had been deployed to stabilize peace in the Eastern part of DRC.
President Tshisekedi accused EACRF of being inactive and looking on idly as M23 rebels captured territory and engaged in new battles with Congolese soldiers.
Despite having joined the EAC block in 2022 and being new to the region, the heart of DRC seems to be elsewhere.
Since 2018 after stepping down of former president Joseph Kabila, this is the first time they will be holding their elections.