Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Early Results: Sun City by Other Means

The Friends of the Congo delegation is still in the Congo. Polling stations have begun to post results. However, official results are not due until the end of August. Many people were pleased with the relatively peaceful elections. One thing is resoundingly clear, the Congolese want change and an end to the insufferable war.

Unfortunately, the spirit and hope of the Congolese community were not matched by the Congolese leadership and for that matter the leadership of the international community. The elections were structurally flawed from the outset, mainly because the West and corporate powers did their best to tilt the system to favor Kabila and the rebels (See Paule Bouvier and Pierre Englebert article in Foreign Policy for a detailed account of how this was done).

Nonetheless, early results indicate that Bemba and Kabila may be in the October 29 runoff. For all intents and purposes, this is Sun City redux. At Sun City, South Africa during the Inter-Congoelse Dialogue, Europe led by Louis Michel and the United States supported the abortion of the process in a deal where Kabila and Bemba would share power in Kinshasa. A group of democrats lead by Etienne Tshisekedi stood up and said no. They fought this attempt to steal the prospect of peace from the Congolese people. In the end, it appears Louis Michel and the rest of the international community may in fact get their way. The Kabila, Bemba result may be the most palatable result for the Congolese people to maintain peace. Should Kabila outright win in the first round, the country "will go up in flames" said presidential candidate Oscar Kashala. With a Bemba, Kabila runoff, chances are the opposition forces will either rally behind Bemba to bring the Kabila regime to an end or outright protest the results.

According to Mediacongo.net, some early results are as follows:
Jean-Pierre Bemba leads with 60 à 80% of the votes followed by Joseph Kabila. Oscar Kashala et Eugène Diomi Ndongala are also well placed. Antoine Gizenga also did well in certain areas of the city.

Jean-Pierre Bemba arrive is in the lead, especially in urban areas. In the rural areas Joseph Kabila has a slight lead.

Antoine Gizenga is in the lead followed by Jean-Pierre Bemba.

Nzanga Mobutu leads in Equateur, followed by Jean-Bemba and Joseph Kabila.

Kasaï occidental and Oriental
Oscar Kashala is slightly ahead of Jean-Pierre Bemba in the grand Kasaï. Results are still due in because voting was disrupted in Mbuji-Mayi.

Joseph Kabila is in the lead in Katanga with about 60% of the vote from Lubumbashi and a little better in rural areas.

South-Kivu, Maniema et North-Kivu
Joseph Kabila has a large lead in the Kivus with 70 to 90% of the votes.

Province Orientale
Joseph Kabila appears to be in the lead in this province.


At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding was that CEI had decided NOT to release preliminary results to avoid problems and in fact Modesto (HAM) was criticizing the press for doing so.

Question: Should the FOTC electoral observers be giving out preliminary results on this blog given that they were invited by CEI (or so I understand)?

I know that here in the USA preliminary presidential results are given out and I don't necessarily agree with CEI and HAM's position. However, as invitees shouldn't you respect the guidelines established by your host?

What is the ethical thing to do?

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments. Below is the response to the issue you have raised:
Yes, you understand correctly, FOTC was invited to observe the elections, which we did.

FOTC Observers have no results to announce, we have simply reported what is in the news and sourced those reports. The Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, La Consicence, Voice of America - who interviewed and quoted a CEI representative in its reporting, mediacongo.net, Jason Sterns of the IRC, Brussels, and numerous others have all been quoted regarding the preliminary results. As far as we know, the CEI has asked the Congolese media to be prudent, it has not asked analysts, such as FOTC to refrain from analyzing and interpreting the current political landscape, which include preliminary results.

FOTC's mandate does not issue from the CEI but rather from readers and activists seeking an alternative, in depth view of events in the Congo. We are not aware of any CEI guidelines that require us to suspend our analytical capabilities nor do we believe that analysis of the election results, especially those results widely published by the international media including the US government’s own media organ in the Congo (Voice of America) raises any ethical questions. In fact, to the contrary, questions should be raised if we did not report and analyze this very crucial three-week period in which the final results are expected to be released. We would be doing a disservice to our readers and supporters if we did not explore the key developments of the current situation in the Congo.

Maurice Carney
Executive Director

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah Maurice, the question is why is the DRC national media held to a different standard than that of the international media and analysts?

Why is it that the DRC's national media has been publicly censored by CEI, HAM for doing the same thing as the various international media including the ones you mentioned? As usual Swing gets into the act in his latest press conference stating that

"The IEC and the HAM remind the media in the same official statement that the electoral law authorizes the IEC only to publish provisional results."

So how is it that the DRC national media is held to a different standard than the international press and analysts...and no one seems to find anything wrong with that?

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the solution is best stated by the South African Ambassador to the DRC, Sisa Ngombane when he says:

"It is true that the provisional results will be announced on August 20. But nothing stops us from finding out which province has results, even the presidential, and the IEC must tell the people that in province A, for example, a particular presidential candidate was number one. The people are uneasy, the commission needs to give the results as they come in, and allow the parties to argue and query them. If this occurs, then it doesn’t allow an atmosphere of rumour and speculation to arise."
Source: http://monuc.org/News.aspx?newsID=12042


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