“Congo Opposition Rejects Early Poll Results,” Financial Times [It is a bad sign that “the money quote” is anonymous]:
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According to the latest partial results, Mr Kabila is winning most support from the mining-rich Katanga province, his stronghold. Some observers have questioned the use of an unaudited voter registration system, which allotted Katanga 4.6m voters, 50 per cent more than the capital Kinshasa, home to 10m people.
A UN Security Council meeting last week noted some electoral irregularities but pressed for a peaceful conclusion to the polls.
“There is no [international] appetite to press for transparency, but just pushing to accept whatever result [the poll commission] comes up with is not going to bring peace,” one Congo expert told the FT. “We have to debunk the idea that it is peace versus transparent elections. The idea that lousy elections are going to bring peace is madness.”
Joshua Marks, of the National Endowment for Democracy, a US-funded foundation, said: “The Security Council wants to avoid violence at all costs. He added: “It’s patronising to the Congolese people. . . You’re still going to have these unresolved grievances in the country and an ever larger number of people against the Kabila regime.”
Despite mineral wealth in copper, gold and diamonds, Congo has slipped to the bottom of global development rankings under Mr Kabila’s latest term, as the country recovers from the 1998-2003 war in which an estimated 5m people died. A clutch of rebel militias still hold sway in the east.
A real election requires credible preparation by a credible election commission and credible dispute resolution mechanisms. The DRC election has already gone this far (past the actual voting) without the “international community” blowing the whistle. The Carter Center and the EU observation missions have made clear that there are serious issues with the preparation and execution of the election by the government. The actors who have supported the process to date need to stay engaged and stay committed as the process continues.
Congolese voters need hope that it makes some difference who they voted for, just like voters anywhere are entitled to expect. A pretense that the voters cannot believe in can be expected to drive violence.