News / Africa

Congo Anticipates Election Result Mayhem

A supporter of Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi is grabbed by a Congolese riot police officer outside his candidate's headquarters in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 8, 2011
A supporter of Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi is grabbed by a Congolese riot police officer outside his candidate's headquarters in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 8, 2011
Heather Murdock

In the final hours before the Congolese election results are supposed to be released, security forces, aid workers and local people are on high alert. Supporters of leading opposition figure Etienne Tshisekedi say if incumbent president Joseph Kabila wins - as expected - they plan to take to the streets.  

For some, the 48-hour wait for election results was a relief. Kapaya, a mechanic who never makes more than $12 a day to feed his family of four, says tempers have cooled in the past couple of days, and people have gotten used to the idea that President Joseph Kabila will take another five year term - even if they don’t like it.

Kapaya says the coming days may not bring bloodshed as many fear, but instability of the situation will hurt everyone one way or another.

He says security in Congo is already a shaky thing - and adding a post-election uproar will scare off businesses. Already one of the poorest countries in the world, he says more than 70 percent of the people in Congo are unemployed - others say it’s more like 80 or 90 percent.

Supporters of Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi run as riot police charge with tear gas and live fire outside their candidate's headquarters in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 8, 2011
Supporters of Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi run as riot police charge with tear gas and live fire outside their candidate's headquarters in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 8, 2011

But at opposition campaign offices, it is clear that not all tempers have cooled. Issa Roger is a member of the party of Etienne Tshisekedi. He says the vote was rigged and the people were robbed. And while other party members say they will wait for orders from above, Roger says the people will protest if Kabila re-assumes power.

He compares Congo to other countries discontented with leadership, saying like in Egypt and Tunisia, the people will protest, and keep protesting until the president steps down.  They expect government forces to fight back, he says, and they are ready to die in battle.

But not everyone in this eastern town is against the president. Ruling party supporters say the current president may not have delivered on all his promises but things are better than they used to be.

Cyrille Muhongya leads the ruling party’s local campaign in North Kivu. He says after a decade of extreme violence, conflict in the Congolese countryside has simmered since 2008, when Mr. Kabila brokered a power-sharing agreement that- at least partially- has integrated many former rebel groups into the regular army.

He says Mr. Kabila is the man of peace who needs another five years to implement the economic, educational and healthcare developments he promised in 2006 - Congo’s first elections in 40 years.

But on a rocky side street, locals say they are bitter about the promises of 2006 and only want change. This man says he doesn’t want to say his name, because he expects a security breakdown in the coming days. Still, he says, he wants to speak out.

He says he hopes the president will step down. He says for five years he has been waiting for Mr. Kabila to do something, and nothing has happened at all.

And while all are anxious about the days to come, aid workers here in Goma say violence could be focused in the capital, Kinshasa. Human Rights Watch says at least 18 people were killed and 100 were wounded in the pre-election fights. Doctors without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontiers) Head of Missions in North Kivu Christine Sarah Buesser says the medical organization is preparing for medical emergencies nationwide.

"Right now we are very much concerned about Kinshasa, so also there we have a team that is ready to respond to an increase in violence," said Buesser. "And we do think probably the west right now could be potentially more violent than the east but I said before, in Eastern DRC violence is still on-going."

Opposition supporters say they will wait until daylight before protests begin. They say they don’t yet no where, when or how many people - but, they say, their protest will be big.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid