Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 3:40 PM

DR Congo’s election results in street fighting, portending civil war…

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Three weeks ago, I wrote the following in this article titled “Historic vote in DR Congo springs hope for Africa”:

…after 40 years of lurching between dictatorships and Rwanda-style warfare, this African country of 57 million people held its first national elections with such regard for democratic principles that it would make George Washington – the father of American democracy – blush with envy. And, with 32 presidential candidates, 9,709 parliamentary candidates and 25.6m voters, it is certainly understandable that it might take weeks before official results are declared.

Unfortunately, when those results were finally declared on Sunday it sent the Congo lurching right back into Rwanda-style warfare.

Because, notwithstanding reports by UN monitors that the 30 July election was free and fair, opposition parties complained of rampant fraud and intimidation by election officials loyal to President Joseph Kabila. And when Kabila decided to preempt announcement of the official results by touting his victory on national television – despite garnering only 45% of the vote (short of the 50% needed for outright victory) – it’s no surprise that rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was second to Kabila with 20%, suspected him of attempting to thwart a run-off election as mandated by law.

In fact, as Kabila was making his premature victory speech, his presidential guards were mobilizing to disarm rebel fighters loyal to Bemba. And, that’s when all hell broke loose – adding more dead to the 3.8 million people who died during the most recent five-year conflict (1998-2003) this election was intended to settle, and to the many millions more who died during this country’s 46-year struggle to honor its name as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nonetheless, latest reports are that, after three days of fighting, UN peacekeeping troops (the largest contingent deployed any where in the world) have managed to quell the clashes and coax the warring factions to cease fire, at least until official results of the October run-off between Kabila and Bemba are declared.

Indeed, like the cease fire between Israel and Hezbollah, this one may simply give these combatants time to regroup to fight another day. And since Kabila’s supporters predominate in the East while Bemba’s predominate in the West, it’s very likely that no matter the results in October, civil war or de facto partition is in store for the DR Congo.

Alas, if I were not forlorn of hope for democracy and sustainable development throughout all of Africa, I would have virtually no hope at all….

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

My Books

VFC Painting


Subscribe via Email

Powered by FeedBlitz