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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora