Tuesday, August 01, 2006

DRC: Elections: Update 5

It seems it was too much to ask, for the politicians who were running in these elections, to actually accept the results. Not that I expected that - in a country that has lived under nepotism for 41 years - there would be no rigging at all. That was, I believe, a given. But I also expected the politicians would somewhat all be involved - directly or indirectly - in the rigging, so it would even out, and everybody would be happy. I was wrong:
BBC NEWS | Africa | DR Congo candidate rejects poll: "Democratic Republic of Congo opposition presidential candidate Azarias Ruberwa says he will reject the result of Sunday's historic election.

Mr Ruberwa - a former rebel leader who became a vice-president in terms of a 2002 peace deal - said he would use all legal means to anul the results.

He demanded a re-run of elections in some areas. Official election results are not expected for several weeks.

The United Nations hailed the poll as a milestone in DR Congo's peace process."
And VP Ruberwa is not the only one complaining about some fraud. Eight candidates from smaller parties are also claiming fraud. Yet, for some reason, the international, and national observers, a well as the representatives of the international community, have said that there were only minor irregularities. But on the Congolese political scene, currently, this is the worst possible scenario - short of all out riots.

There was already a sense in the population that there is complicity between the international community and the Kabila camp, to maintain him in power, to serve Western economic interests in the Congo. It seems the smaller parties are banking on that very sentiment. If they can convince people that their allegations are true, it will mean that the international community is in collusion with the riggers... recipe for chaos. I believe these people are being dangerously irresponsible. I do not particularly think of either Kabila or Bemba as the best choices for the country. But risking the country's integrity just to kick them out, and take power for oneself... dangerously irresponsible. They had better have tangible proof of what they allegate.

Finally, a great thanks to The Salon's personal reporter, ExiledSoul, for all the information she has brought, and will bring us.

Congo kino liwa!


Fred said...

Another interesting update. Keep 'em coming please.

I've posted a response here

Fleur d'Afrique. said...

Aaaah tu vois! All these concerns, I already brought them up 2 years ago on my old blog. Nobody is prepared to loose!

How are we supposed to create a political culture in this climate? And frankly those who complain aren't kidding anyone .... it's not like the RCD would have reached the top 3. *rolls eyes*

They don't even know the results but they already plan to protest. These guys knew they'd lose way before the campaign started. N'importe quoi ...

However the irregularities are a concern. I think they're doing their best to minimize them. I also like to think that the system was designed to avoid them. But let's not pretend that we didn't know the risks. I find it rather sad that candidates have to dispatch their own people around the country to stand by polling stations to make sure no cheating happens behind closed doors.

TheMalau said...

I have responded, Fred, and I will write a piece about this, made of the comments I made on your comments, and on Sarah's.

Florita Africana, quel plaisir de te retrouver. I agree, nobody was really prepared to lose, but that was just to be expected. I believe I said somewhere, that we had no illusions about that. And when you brought it up before, I did not (corrige moi si je me trompe) disagree with you. I just said that it something to be expected and dealt with. And that the elections will have to be done at some point, and these guys will not stop to be bad losers then either. So better deal with it now, see what they will do, and adjust. That's all we can do, now, IMHO. People need to know that they have at least some power. What do you think?

Black River Eagle said...

Don't worry, in the words of a very famous world diplomat "... these are just the birthpains of Democracy."

Azarias Ruberwa and his political supporters can complain all they want and they have the right to have their legitimate complaints investigated by an independent judicial authority. The main point is that he and other political candidates MUST be prepared to accept the judgement of a bonafide independent authority and NOT attempt to settle disputes at the barrel of a gun. If he moves to incite violence on the streets in the capital, we may see what those EUFOR-RDC forces can do in a real emergency___ and other forces sitting right off the coast of West Africa and down in South Africa at the moment. Let's hope and pray it doesn't come to that.

What does former U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter have to say about these elections? Usually, if the Carter Center gives an election a "thumbs up" then everything is cool since President Carter is such a highly-respected and honored figure worldwide.

And last but NOT least, has anybody come up with undeniable proof (official government documents, secret wiretaps, audio or video tapes) that some Western nations and the "International Community" is in cahoots with the Kabila Camp to rig these elections? Wreckless allegations are very dangerous in this atmosphere and could lead to violence in the streets faster than anything. Some responsible authority within the DRC civic leadership and the press and media needs to address (squash) that kind of talk ASAP.

TheMalau said...

BRE, I agree with you, up to the International Community thing. The problem is EXACTLY that no one has dained to address the allegations at all. As I said on Sarah's blog (Breaking Hearts in the Heart of Darkness), the problem in my beloved country is that perception of guilt, is often as good as guilt. And the fact that the Kabila bunch are not even remotely addressing the issue, makes them look guiltier.

Black River Eagle said...

I just read an article by BBC News online journalist Joseph Winter in Kinshasa that addresses these very issues. Winter's August 2nd article "Foreign observers hail Congo's poll" points out that the Carter Center has the given the elections a thumbs up with a wiggly pinky finger (meaning there were a small number of polling irregularities) and the U.N.'s MONUC is calling the elections a big success. Here is an excerpt from that article:

"Observers from the Carter Center, an independent body set up by former US President Jimmy Carter, warned the impact of last-minute changes to polling stations and lists could not yet be adequately assessed.

But they acknowleged that as the there had been no democratic election in 40 years, the most stringent international election standards could not be completely met.

Democratic development should rather be seen as "a long-term project", the Carter Center said.

Monuc and the Carter Center both deplored the attitude of certain media for behaving irresponsibly."

Well, so much for my idea that the national media could helpout in dispelling dangerous rumours and general muckracking. Check it out for yourself at the following URL:


Anonymous said...

Ruberwa can complain as long as he wants. His complains will be reviewed by the Supreme Court!
Was there irregularities? YES
Enough to cancel the results? NO

Any person with a sane mind knows that RUBERWA WILL NOT DO WELL IN THESE ELECTIONS.

I would be amazed if he managed to have more than 5 %!
The hate against Rwanda is so present that his candidacy was doomed from the get-go.
It is sad ( or evil) to allow a man with no support in an entire country make comments about the elections in DR CONGO.

Farewell Ruberwa!

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