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Election Under Tension

Congolese Presidential 2011

For the second time in its history, the Democratic Republic of Congo went to the polls to elect its president. Eleven candidates competed for the post, including the actual president, Joseph Kabila. Leading the state for five years, the president inherited of a country plagued by corruption and wars. Supported by the Chinese, he undertook the reconstruction of the country, among others the famous “five constructions” often criticized. After a first lukewarm mandate, the « Raïs », -as nicknamed- has however campaigned with the help of millions of dollars.

His motto « 100% sure » let few place to the opposition. Etienne Tshisekedi, the historical leader of the opposition (UDPS), despite his popularity in Kinshasa was not in the position to take up the challenge. Like Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast, he self proclaimed himself president several times, seeking attention from the international community.  Without success, his followers tried to destabilize the government in power. The army reacted violently, at least 10 people died and dozens were wounded.

On November 28, 32 millions Congolese went to the polls. The violent riots preceding this historical day did not scared people away from their citizen’s duty. However, in Kinshasa as in the rest of the country, the process sprinkled with mistakes and incidents more or less serious. From missing bulletins to polls stations attacks. The suspicions of election rigging and the persistent rumours washed away any chances of a peaceful outcome. While waiting for the results to be published, the country remains relatively quiet. Hard to say if it is preceding the storm.