News / Africa

Eastern Congolese Gear Up for Election

People walk under a giant poster showing Democratic Republic of the Congo 's President and candidate for a second term Joseph Kabila, in Kinshasa, November 7, 2011.
People walk under a giant poster showing Democratic Republic of the Congo 's President and candidate for a second term Joseph Kabila, in Kinshasa, November 7, 2011.
Heather Murdock

The eastern provinces are some of the most volatile parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and have been plagued by war and humanitarian crisis for decades.  This week, as they gear up to vote in Congo's second election since the end of a civil war, some voters are jubilant, while others fear - and threaten - that these elections will not be peaceful. 

In the final days of campaigning, trucks packed with dancers and bullhorns play music and crisscross the North Kivu provincial capital, Goma.  Campaign posters occupy every available space.  There are 11 contenders for the DRC's presidential seat and about 1,800 candidates running for parliament.

With no pollsters here, everyone is certain their candidate will win.  But no one is certain the elections will come off on time, peacefully or fairly.   

In a crowd of like-minded citizens, Deborah Musafari says she supports Vital Kamerhe, one of the top three contenders for president.  But she fears that if he wins there will be renewed violence. "We fear the elections won’t be peaceful because some people say if their candidate doesn’t win they will go back to fighting in the bush.  We don’t want another rebellion," she said. "We know that Kamerhe has won -- voting is just a formality."

This crowd says the only way current President Joseph Kabila can win is if the elections are rigged.  They say if that happens, they plan to take to the streets.

But local ruling party leaders say they are optimistic about Monday’s polls, saying they are preparing for a clean election.  Cyrille Muhongya leads President Kabila's campaign in North Kivu.  He says the president, the only elected head of state in the DRC in more than 40 years, will surely win.

"It is him who is engaging in the process of national reconstruction because the country was at war for a long time," Muhongya noted. "Our country once had ethnic wars, and many other battles."

But opponents say Kabila has had his chance.  They say he promised easterners development, humanitarian aid and peace.  But on the dusty streets of Goma, it is clear that there is still desperate need of all three.

Christian Badose is candidate number 100 of about the 1,800 running for parliament.  He supports Etienne Tshisekedi, who is likely Mr. Kabila’s most formidable opponent.  He says he doubts the electoral commission has the ability to hold credible, transparent elections.

"The people working for the electoral commission are the same as those in 2006 and they didn’t prove they had the capacity to hold neutral elections.  This is why we don’t think the elections will be transparent," Badose said.

Hopes and tensions are high as campaigns wind down, and commissioners prepare for Monday’s contest.   

And although some observers say the preparations have been chaotic, and the logistics are not in place for a vote, local residents say it is their turn to make their voices heard.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid