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

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Last minute update on elections

I am now in Bukavu, where I will be observing elections. A few rushed updates:
  • The situation in Kinshasa is tense following clashes yesterday between UDPS supporters and the police. Following clashes in the morning, Kinshasa's governor decided to cancel all political rallies in Kinshasa on the last day of the election campaign. The police blocked Tshisekedi from exiting the airport, which provoked clashes with police; at least two people died. This infuriated the UDPS supporters, who claim that Kabila did this on purpose, as he was unlikely to get anywhere close to as many followers at his rally as Tshisekedi. The European Union seemed to agree, condemning the attack on freedom of expression and assembly.
  • Accusations of election irregularities have proliferated over the past days - first, observers noticed that hundreds of polling stations either didn't exist or had been planned without informing the locales. Then, hundreds of thousands of voters in Ituri and Idjwi (South Kivu) discovered that their names were not on the list of voters. Finally, numerous accusations have emerged of ballot having been found with Kabila's name already checked. It is difficult to verify all of the accusations or to know where some or due to disorganization or manipulation.
  • As I write this, some places in South Kivu have not received election materials - according to one report, large parts of Fizi territory had not received election material by this evening. Similar situations may prevail elsewhere, as well.
  • The last several days of campaigning saw huge rallies for Tshisekedi in Bas-Congo, Kananga, Mbuji-Mayi and Bandundu.
More tomorrow,


Anonymous said...

Please stay safe Mr Stearns and bring us the real info from that part of the DRC. What has happened Saturday in Kinshasa with the killings of the opposition supporters by the military and police is not a good sign. There is a need for trustworthy sources to say the truth about this electoral process that seems to be full of
shortcomings.Thanks for your blog.

Anonymous said...

Yes, please stay safe Jason (and Alex and Amy since I gather y'all read this blog too). And Rich too!

We are all praying for really everyone at this point and will need solid information/reporting.

But, again, please be safe.


Anonymous said...

These 2 links one from RFI and the other Radio Okapi confirm that voting bulletin have been found circulating in the cities of Goma and Johanesbourg South Africa and that some have been found in equateur. Beside Kamerhe showed voting bulletin during an interview to the belgian TV RTBF.....

I don't know how to have credible elections when voting bulletin are all over the place. And there are all these ghost voting station all around.

Ngoy Mulunda and the CENI are criminals, they will be responsible of all the blood that will be spilled.

Anonymous said...

Jason as an observer in goma ,why not in kinshasa? that is a joke

Anand said...

Thank you so much for the up to date election info Jason. I would love to hear about your observation experience when you have time. I think everyone who follows Congolese politics is on edge, and your (and others)calm reporting helps to take the edge off a bit. I am sure many Congolese people are on edge too, but I imagine there must be quite a variety of competing emotions and sentiment among the Congolese population as well. I certainly hope that violence isn't the answer to all of the issues and questions surrounding the election. As per usual, a very complex set of circumstances seems to be dominating Congolese goings on. I am very interested in how the non-presidential races turn out as well. Thank you for playing an active and positive role in the electoral process. Sorry for the redundant sentiment, but we who follow your work and your blog do care about your safety. So wishing you safety and the energy needed to complete the hard work ahead. For outside observers, the next few days promises to be a patience rending game of wait and see...

Anonymous said...

good news ...peaceful polling in progress in rutshuru , north kivu......well done PNC, CENI, FARDC AND MONUSCO.

D Djeli said...

Lunchtime GMT update:

voting mostly peaceful so far but all over the country lots of people finding names not on lists, this could be due to logistics as much as any fraud. Ballot boxes are filling too quickly because of the size of the voting slips which culd be a major problem later in the day

A few places, materials or booths have not arrived but so far it seems nowhere near as bad as predicted

Violence in Bakole - Kananga, Kasai Occidental where voters became so angry at this they burned the office and lynched the one of the centre's leaders.

But so far as horrible as that sounds my myriad sources say things are calm

Richard Kanyiku said...

Roger Meece must step down or face the vengeance of the people of Congo. He must be replaced by someone impartial and unbiased in our country. Meece has no right to come to a sovereign nation on UN ticket to help create peace and stability, but at the same time create personal ties with the incumbent president Mr. Hyppolite Kanambe because of the privileges he enjoys in dubious business activities accross the Nation. Mr Meece is seen everywhere whenever a mining deal is signed and receives millions of dollars in returns. He was seen in Mbuji-Mayi where diamond sales are on auctions and deals have seen signed with private dealers from India, Pakistan and South Africa. Is Mr Meece a UN envoy to Congo or a business man? Does he care about the blood of congolese he is supposed to protect? Those who know this culprit, a court injunction against Mr Roger Meece is underway. He he will have to answer to these many accusations, for the crime against humanity he has participated in, in arms traffic, illegal exploitation of national minerals. Blood was shed in the Capital Kinshasa on this fatefull and memorable day of 11/26/2011 and Mr was an eye witness. How can a UN high ranking envoy authorize an incumbent president, via his chied police officer Bisengimana, during the final hour of the campaign to prevent another presidential candidate from landing at an airport? How can Mr Meece accept a non-violent presidential candidate, mr Etienne Tshisekedi who incarnates the hopes of millions of congolese inside and abroad to be held up by mercenaries of the incumbent presidential candidate? What has Mr Meece done about the martyrs of 11/26/2011, children and women, killed by these thugs, using heavy combat weapons on these vulnerable people who were happy to see their candidate back to the capital city to present them the report of his campaign accross the country? Any nation, any man who has stains of the congolese's bllod on the tips of his fingers will pay it one day.

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