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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid