Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday flew to DRC capital, Kinshasa and held a closed-door meeting with his host President Joseph Kabila.
Reports indicate that Mnangagwa briefed Kabila on the transition that led to the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe in November last year.
Emerging from the meeting, President Mnangagwa said he felt “home away from home” after the warm welcome he received.
Mnangagwa is the fourth African head of state, to visit the DRC in the space of two weeks following a joint visit by the Angolan presidents Joao Lourenço, Congolese Denis Sassou Nguesso and Gabonese Ali Bongo.
Both Zimbabwe and DRC belong to the Southern African Development Community (SADC); other members include-Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia,Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland and Angola.
However, Botswana has criticized Kabila’s attempts to extend his rule which has attracted massive protests across the vast mineral rich SADC member state.
Kabila, who’s ruled since 2001, was due to step down at the end of his second term in December 2016 after the election of a successor.
The vote was postponed and Kabila has remained in office, sparking regular protests in which dozens of people have been killed by security forces. Kabila’s perceived illegitimacy has also become a rallying cry for some eastern militias, while a conflict in the central Kasai region has claimed thousands of lives since August 2016.
A statement from Botswana’s Ministry of International Affairs said DRCongo has a “worsening humanitarian situation mainly because its leader has persistently delayed the holding of elections, and has lost control over the security of his country.”
It said the international community should “put more pressure” on Congo’s leadership to relinquish power.
Lambert Mende, Congo’s communications minister said, Botswana shouldn’t interfere in Congo’s internal affairs and accused Botswana government of “trying to please some powerful friends.”
Meanwhile,tensions soared in DRC on Saturday as hundreds of ruling party supporters stormed Kinshasa cathedral after authorities banned a planned church-backed rally against President Kabila.
Kabila summoned a cabinet meeting during which he accused the clergy of undertaking “partisan political activism”, according to the minutes of a meeting chaired by Kabila.