AU to send troops for DRC polls
AU special envoy Mame Madior Boye made the offer here on Tuesday during her meeting with DRC Foreign Minister Raymond Ramazani Baya on the electoral process. She said an AU mission could be deployed in the eastern part of DRC to maintain stability in the run-up to the country’s June 18 presidential and parliamentary elections. The envoy deplored the serious financial and logistical problems that had blocked the AU from translating its good wishes into reality in the past. She also called for protection of the country’s women and children from violence. Solutions are needed to protect children from being used in armed conflicts, she stressed. According to the schedule set by the electoral commission, presidential and parliamentary candidates should submit their application forms before March 23. The results of the first round of presidential elections will be published on July 14. Interior Minister Mbemba Fundu said recently that 270 parties in the country had registered in the elections. The country, formerly Zaire, is rich in natural resources. But it is suffering from the aftermath of the 1998-2003 civil war which left nearly 4 million people dead. Under the country’s transitional constitution, it should complete its first democratic general elections by June 30.