Thursday, March 09, 2006

Election news

I wrote this last week, but neglected to post here, apologies for the delay!

EU troops to support the UN: Sweden and Belgium have come forward to commit troops for maintaining peace during the DR Congo election process, culminating in June. France and Germany are more reluctant, and Germany says that it ‘cannot imagine going outside of Kinshasa.’

Granted it is inevitable that Kinshasa will experience rioting and discord: it is a sprawling capital city of 9 million people. But if troops are being deployed, to say that Kinshasa would be the only place covered is laughable. You might as well stay home, troops.

An expat Congolese living in Massachusetts has decided to enter the presidential race. He counts himself in the group of 5 viable candidates among the 20 some registered to run, and has started a party called Union for the Rebuilding of Congo, through which he has begun campaigning for the election scheduled in June.

You can donate to his cause here.

The other four candidates are the current president, Joseph Kabila, two of his four vice presidents, and a former banker.

Because of his distance from DR Congo over the past 20 years, it seems that he may just have a chance. He is running in part on an anti-corruption platform, for which he has more credibility than someone coming from inside the current political system because he has spent less time stewing in the culture of corruption. I could be wrong, but it also seems that someone who has made a legitimate living and has been established outside Kinshasa for so long would be more likely to seek the presidency for legitimate reasons than some candidates running from inside the system.

Kashala anticipates that his campaign will cost $10 million, and is considering hiring a company to run it.

An agreement was signed today that will implicate both South Africa and Belgium in post-election restructuring. South Africa was confident enough to state that DRC polls 'don't need troops'.

There is a lot of optimism regarding the elections in many sectors; South African Defence Minister Lekota says that the country is primed for democratic elections, who also made the cryptic and mysterious comment:

"Our optimism is not only based on air..."

(x-posted to Adventures of a Retired Armchair Traveler)

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