Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Friday, January 21, 2011

Update on elections

I made a few slight mistakes on my previous elections posting -

A total of $98 million has been pledged so far to the electoral process through the Projet d'Appui au Cycle Electorale (PACE) office that is managed by UNDP in Kinshasa. Of that money, $77 million have already been made available. In addition, MONUSCO is currently budgeting for around $80 to $100 million in logistical support to electoral operations.

This does not include money going to NGOs for electoral education - the US government has given $4 million to IFES for this kind of work (although nothing, I believe, to the electoral operations themselves).

So we are better off that I had written with regards to the funding, but fears remain. The US government is making very little funding available for election monitoring, which is why groups such as NDI and Carter Center are having a hard time sending election observation missions. MONUSCO was never granted the additional electoral staff it had asked for and when the time for the new resolution comes in May it will be too late.

This was what one foreign diplomat in Kinshasa wrote me this last week:
Voter registration is so far free of too much fraud, although there are the usual complaints in certain areas that more registration centers are set up in one area or the other. The process is however very slow and the electoral specialists say that the process should be finished at least six months ahead of election day (the whole appeals process takes a long time). The CEI has distributed all the material, but training of their staff is lagging behind. The CENI has finally been accepted in its current composition and we are awaiting the presidential decree. With Pasteur Mulunda leading the show, we are in for a frustrating period.

On the political front, some of the EU members are currently arguing that, with the new rules of the game, their financial commitments will have to be renegotiated.


Anonymous said...

In 2006 the International Community opted clearly for strong support of the candidate Joseph Kabila in the presidential elections, thus maintaining the status quo.

Could the lack of reaction on the part of the Ambassadors of the EU and US to the Constitutional Amendment to a 1-round election explained to them by Boshab be an indication that the same policy has been decided despite the massacres (two in Bas-Congo by state security services), assassinations, violations of human rights, total impunity, corruption and massive looting of public funds, parallel government, repeated violations of the Constitution, judicial insecurity for companies working in the DRC, etc...? Apparently the rejection of the amendment by the political opposition, civil society, catholic church Archbishop, lawyers association, is of no significance to either the government of DRC’s ruling coalition or the Ambassadors of the EU and US in the DRC.

Could the closing of the Carter Center be another sign on the part of the US?

As for the said Ambassadors talking about the importance in their eyes that elections be free and fair, while remaining silent on recent oppression by public authorities and police on the political opposition in Goma and Ituri – where only the majority AMP are permitted to hold rallies – gives these Ambassadors so far zero credibility.

Unless we witness a radical change on the part of the EU and US present in the DRC, it seems like the policy they’ve pursued since 2006 i.e. Kabila’s regime can abuse power at will and this will be silently tolerated is still firmly in place. The International Community appears satisfied with the status quo……less so the Congolese but who cares?

The Mobutu regime stayed complacently in power under different forms for over 30 years. 14 years later and still apparently strongly supported, the Kabila regime, under different forms, seems to be set to do the same.

Has the DRC improved in terms of respect for human rights, rule of law and good governance??

Anonymous said...

That is a good point, Massive. But it is missing a critical piece.

What of the people of the Congo rising up against this regime? This is a piece that often is missing on this blog. And their are signs, from all over the country, that the Congolese are increasingly challenging this regime and its arrogant abuses of power.

Take the Fizi example. In that incident, two things occurred: the people literally challenged state power as a group and the fairly worldwide press coverage and condemnation has now led to the arrest and detainment of a state official.

Now, what do we think will happen if these officers and commanders are tried and basically given a slap on the hand? It really isn’t too far fetched to see this a metacstizing into a movement among the people. Indeed, the Congolese activists I know in the country are closely watching this incident (and others) as a means of encouraging their countrymen and women to rise in protest.

Imagine the reaction of the US, UN, EU, AU or whomever if the Congolese began to challenge the many and varied abuses of state power? Only the cynical believe the people are not capable of taking their destiny into their own hands.

This part of the Congo equation- grassroots action- is a real hole in this blog’s analysis. This is not a knock on you, Jason. You deal in the world of the elites, but I am sure you know that history isn’t just the machinations of the elite.

But please do more than simply take us to the water’s edge!


Anonymous said...

Thankyou Bryce,

I appreciate your analysis and agree with you on the need for, and hope for a grass-roots movement taking hold in the DRC, along the lines of the one which toppled the Mobutu regime which was essentially broken down by the people and political opposition on the inside, the AFDL simply picked the rotten fruit.

The Congolese people indeed aspire to stand up against abuse of power but the facts are this regime is extremely repressive and has been since it came to power, the number of massacres, assassinations, disappearances, intimidations and illegal detentions are too many to count, including since it was ‘democratically elected’.

Therefore we all support and encourage and are proud of the courageous people of Fizi (!) but I am concerned that to hope for such a movement on a massive scale is illusionary as long as the state’s oppressive apparatus is still firmly in place and make no mistake, it is firmly in place.
The people face a regime which has a quasi-monopoly on finances and security forces.

The difference with the current situation and that which lead to the fall of the Mobutu regime is that back then there were pressures simultaneously internally, and externally (international community which had severed ties with the regime). This double configuration meant that the regime could not hold up under the pressure to reform or fall. The situation of the Kabila regime is entirely different, because as mentioned in my comment earlier, no matter what grave abuses of power and no matter the public opinion of the Congolese people, it remains steadfastly supported by the international community. This means that the Congolese people are not getting the support they deserve and their capacity to effectively mobilize remains limited.

Having said that, as one who loves the Congo and wishes their liberation from oppressive regimes who are posterboys for bad governance, I maintain the simple HOPE that if the political opposition were to mobilize behind 1 credible candidate in the presidential elections (1-round), they could then create a certain momentum amongst the people which could, Tunisia-style, force the international community out of its’ current complacency. I believe that 14 years after the fall of the infamous Mobutu regime, the Congolese deserve better than the status quo, they deserve competent leadership and a radical change in governance!!


Richard Mwamba said...

Massivejean, I can't tell how much I enjoyed reading your reaction, this is one of a kind and I wish all congolese around the globe will one day tune in to this blog to really understand the real issues affecting the country. Could you also add a blog on congo independant, since it is in french there are more readers who will appreciate. It's by learning, reading and understanding the facts that a mass revolution can come about. I think the west is underestimating the will of the people and still think africans are animals who can't do the same as in Irak, Chechenia, venezuela or Palestine. By continiously imposing leaders on sovereign people in this 21st century, they are creating more enemies than they think. African mass revolution will be about who is friend of Africa and who has contributed to the misery of Africa. They must watch out!The time is near!

Post a Comment