News / Africa

Presidential Campaign in DR Congo Enters Final Week

Supporters of Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and presidential candidate, wait for his arrival at Goma airport, November 14, 2011.
Supporters of Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and presidential candidate, wait for his arrival at Goma airport, November 14, 2011.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, presidential campaigning is entering its final week with the incumbent leader facing 10 challengers, including a former prime minister.

President Joseph Kabila's biggest challenger in this election is the long-time opposition leader and former prime minister Etienne Tshisekedi.

The president came to power after the 2001 assassination of his father, Laurent Kabila, who led the rebellion against dictator Mobutu Sese Seko when the country was called Zaire.

Joseph Kabila won re-election in a 2006 vote that was marred by violence following his second-round run-off against a former rebel leader. This time, President Kabila is facing the 78-year-old Tshisekedi, who both worked with and ran against Mobutu.

Earlier this month, President Kabila's government shut down the private Radio Lisanga television station following a broadcast in which Tshisekedi declared himself president “appointed by the people” and called on supporters to free alleged political prisoners.

In an interview with VOA's French Service, Tshisekedi said he “did not ask the people to take up weapons” but was instead calling for their “mobilization.”

Tshisekedi says dictatorship has no place in a democracy and the world should know that democracy is now in Congo. He says his call on supporters to break colleagues out of prison does not compare to what he says are the large numbers of opposition supporters killed by the Kabila government.

Campaigning in the eastern Kivu provinces, President Kabila promised to crush anyone who starts violence in a country where more than two million people died during civil wars that involved troops from Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

President Kabila says his opponents are saying that if they do not win these elections, they will start fighting. The president says they can not fight. And if they do start a war, Kabila says the government will crush them.

The United States, European Union and United Nations have expressed concern about electoral violence. The International Criminal Court says it will investigate election-related crimes as it is doing in Ivory Coast and Kenya.

Congo's electoral commission says presidential and legislative voting is still on schedule for November 28, despite concerns by some electoral observers about the pace of distributing voting materials in a country the size of Western Europe.

Opposition leader Tshisekedi says the contest must not be postponed.

Realistic or not, Tshisekedi says the date of the election is obligatory and the electoral commission has no choice because President Kabila's mandate ends in December. If the government does not respect the date of the vote and fails to properly organize these elections, Tshisekedi says it will be fatal and risks, in his words, setting the nation on fire.

There are 11 presidential candidates in the first vote since Congo's constitution was changed to eliminate a run-off election if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote. This time, whoever gets the most votes wins. More than 18,000 Congolese are standing for seats in parliament.

The electoral commission says final results of the vote will be compiled December 5 and published December 6, which is the last day of President Kabila's current mandate.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid