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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid