The Democratic Republic of Congo appears set for the July 30th presidential elections, the first-ever democratic elections since 1960, when Patrice Lumumba was elected Congo’s first prime minister. Twenty-five million people have registered to vote, and 33 candidates are running for president. One of those is Alafuele Mbuyi Kalala, leader of the Rally for a New Society party. He holds a doctorate of science degree with a specialty in biochemistry and physics. From Washington, Kalala spoke with Voice of America reporter James Butty to explain why he is running for president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“There are two major problems in the Congolese society, and these problems are interrelated. The first one is the lack of organizational ability in the people of the Congo, and the second is the lack of good leadership…. So it is to help Congo resolve these major problems that we have decided to run in the presidential election in the Congo.”
Kalala says the July 30th date is not a realistic one but says this should not deter the elections. He adds that if they are hastily organized, Congo could face more problems after the elections than before.
“The elections in the Congo should not be considered as an ordinary exercise. They are a tool and a mechanism to help and resolve the question of political legitimacy in the Congo that has been hurting the political life and the life of the country over the last 46 years, since the death of Patrice Lumumba.”
In reference to the ethnic divisions within the DRC, Kalala says they are a result of previous poor leadership, in which the people were manipulated. He says his party encourages the people to rally together.
Kalala says his chances are good in a field of 33 candidates.
"Let me tell you that we are the most credible of all the candidates, and I am not just overstating my case. Secondly, our message and our vision are in tune with the aspiration of the people, and the people of the Congo are rallying behind us.”