Saturday, November 19, 2011

AFRICA : DEM. REP. CONGO : MISSIONARIES CONCERNED FOR ELECTIONS

Agenzia Fides REPORT - "Taking a first assessment of the election campaign, it is clear that politicians are campaigning without consistency", says the "Peace Network for Congo" in a note sent to Fides on the presidential and legislation elections that will take place in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on November 28. "It is an undeniable fact that this campaign has begun in an atmosphere of high tension and political intolerance. There are provocations, invectives against one or the other candidate, sterile polemics and unnecessary slogans", said the "Network " promoted by the missionaries working in the DRC. The tense election atmosphere was also recently condemned by Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa (see Fides 11/11/2011).
"The persistence of fragmentation of the political panorama and the variety of candidates suggests that each have adopted an attitude of expectation, in sight of a future negotiation with the winner(s)" the note says. 18,000 candidates registered for the legislative elections, compared with about 10,000 of the previous elections. These 417 candidates belong to political parties recognized by the Ministry of the Interior in August, against 203 parties in 2006. As for the presidential elections, there are only 11 candidates compared to the 33 in 2006. One reason may be the fact that the electoral deposit for candidates in the presidential election has increased from 50,000 to $ 100,000 (not refundable).
Based on the results appeared on the site of the INEC (Independent Electoral Commission), the only presidential candidates that may hinder the re-election of outgoing President Joseph Kabila, are Vital Kamerhe and Etienne Tshisekedi. The first, a former supporter of President Kabila, and has a large number of candidates for the Chamber of Deputies in all the regions in Congo and not only in Kivu, where he is very popular. As for Etienne Tshisekedi, a prominent figure of the old opposition in Congo-Zaire, who did not present himself in the 2006 elections, chose the strategy of tension and ambivalence, even instrumentally stirring up the idea of an "Arab Spring" in the DRC. His legendary name mobilizes the crowds but also street children known as "pompa" (young people who practice martial arts) or "Kuluna" (young drifters often armed with knives and machetes).
Kabila's re-election is considered likely by several opponents, but the note warns, "there is a strong chance that, after the elections, riots could break out not only in Kinshasa, but also in other provinces. It would be a serious irresponsibility of the opposition if they decide to foment hatred for the sole purpose of discrediting Joseph Kabila in the eyes of the population and abroad. In this type of game Congo would be the loser, because, in the throes of revolt, with a President unable to provide an efficient government, unable to continue the reconstruction of the Country, already very slow, and unable to maintain its unity, not able to have reliable security forces, because composed, especially in Kivu, by poorly integrated former rebels. What one must not esclude is, after the elections, that the catastrophic scenario could become reality, unfortunately", the note concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 19/11/2011)

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