Saturday, December 17, 2005

DR Congo: Countdown to the Polls (-1)!!!!!!!

One day, and we make History. The Congolese people will really go to decide their fate, for the first time after 40 years of reckless dictatorship. The rhetoric is intensified, and all sides are geared-up for a momentous event.

The UDPS party of veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, finally settled for a call to a boycott. The Catholic Church seems to be only nominally neutral, with local Catholic organizations apparently rooting for the "No" vote. An NGO - I am not sure how independent - named COPCA took an opinion poll in the DRC, and came up with the conclusion that the "No" vote would - narrowly - win.

At the same time, in an TV-address, broadcasted countrywide from the former rebel city of Bukavu, President Joseph Kabila called all the people of the Congo to vote "Yes". This first visit in one of the two hearts of the Congolese rebellion, was seen as historic, as it makes a clearer statement on the increasing reunification of the Country.


The borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be closed starting at Midnight tonight. I guess the government has learned that everything must look tight, as well as be tight! The institutions seem to be in a full-fledged campaign to make this look - if not really be - the best, most tightly knitted elections the Congo can offer under the circumstances - and the political schemes. There were definitely many downfalls in the distribution of election information, and of the Constition itself. Many have complained that they have not had a chance to even look at the constitution they are to vote on. And I believe that even in the fledgeling DRC, it was possible to do better than that. And not enough effort has been put into place to reach the large (30-40%) illiterate population. Let us watch and see.

As stated in the previous "Countdown" post, Radio Okapi will provide full coverage of the elctions starting tomorrow morning, and going all the way to Monday evening. Here at the Salon we will post redirects to pertinent articles and media links, to do our part in keeping people informed on this momentous event for Congolese people, and for Africa (and the World, but some may disagree with this).


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