Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Climate Stinks

"The climate stinks," a Western diplomat told Reuters in Kinshasa. "We are trying to bring democracy to a country through people who are not democrats." Source:MONUC

The above statement is one of the most prescient comments made by a Westerner concerning the entire election process. We have stated a number of times that the international community was backing Kabila and was prepared to crown him president until the Congolese opposition made that option untenable. The opposition did so by doing two things, one they made it clear that if Kabila passed in the first round the country would automatically become ungovernable; second they asked their supporters at the last hour before the July 30th elections to throw their support behind Bemba as a means of preventing Kabila from winning in the first round. Ironically, the Kabila Bemba run-off reflects an option backed primarily by Belgium and the United States during the Inter-Congolese Dialogue in South Africa in 2002. It was only after both the political opposition and the Rally for Congolese democracy rejected the Kabila-Bemba formula that the international community backed down.

So here we are days before the elections and to no one's surprise an air of violence pervades the country. The entire process has been structurally flawed mainly because it sidelined the democratic forces in the country and promoted the violent elements, responsible for the killing and suffering of the Congolese people.

The so-called debate that was to take place between Kabila and Bemba has been cancelled. Modeste Mutinga, president of the High Media Authority, the country's media watchdog announced today that the debate scheduled for October 26, would no longer take place. The coming days are of increasing concern. More than ever, the Congolese people need strong but peace-loving leadership to step up on their behalf and represent their interests even if it is outside of the fatally flawed electoral process.


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