DR Congo Presidential elections: understanding the need to send away the EU’s Ambassador Bart Ouvry

The European Union was asked to recall its ambassador Mr. Bart Ouvry in RDC within 48 hours on the 27th of December 2018 by the country’s foreign minister Leonard She Okitundu. A request base on the principle of reciprocity according to some analysis, in response to the renewal of sanctions against about 14 political figures of the RDC the 10 December 2018. Those sanctions were taken following the several postponement of elections for the past 2 years and the repressions of some people protesting at the time. The request is considered as arbitrary and definitely unappropriated by the EU’s leader Frederica Morgehrini.

It is important to underline the fact that this is done within the rules of international law and diplomatic practices. The DR Congo has not breached any law or principle of international affairs, on the contrary the country has simply made use of a diplomatic tool acknowledged by the international community. Therefore the decision of mister Leonard Okitundu might be arbitrary and unappropriated but definitely legal.

Looking at the relevance of such a decision it would be helpful to understand firstly the sanctions taken against the political figures of the DR Congo and the probable consequences of those sanctions on the development process of the country, deem it economic, political, or social during the two last years . this evaluation will leave us with three options:

1- If it is established that the sanctions have been useful to the DR Congo’s development whether economically, politically, or in any way better the living conditions of the Congolese people, sending the EU’s ambassador away could be considered as unappropriated and moreover a “crime against the people”. However it seems quite difficult to think about, and even establish that the sanctions taken have directly contributed to the development of the country.

2- If it is proven that the sanctions have been rather a hindrance to the development of the country, then this decision in response to such sanctions is more than welcome and the government could be blamed to have allow this to last 2 years before taking reciprocal measures.

3-The third point of analysis that could be explored it the alternative of a simple diplomatic game, a demonstration of “power” between the EU and the DR Congo, and should not be a priority for the people, but relevant for international affairs analysts that could see an interesting development, in the sense that it is not common to see African States taking such reciprocal decisions when sanctions and measures are taken against them by western institutions. This falls within the ongoing shift of behaviors of the African states in international Affairs.

Which of the hypothesis do you think explains the best the issue?

Leave a comment to share your interesting thoughts with us…


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