Appeal To World Leaders Regarding The 2011 Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo
On November 28, 2011, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held its second presidential and parliamentary elections since the devastating war that began in 1996 and continues to claim lives in the eastern part of the country. Assassinations, intimidation, and other human rights violations have been documented since the beginning of the electoral process. Human Rights Watch reported that of the 18 people dead as a result of electoral violence on November 26, the majority of those killed were shot dead by President Kabila’s Republican Guard soldiers in Kinshasa.
On December 9, 2011, the preliminary presidential election results were announced. The electoral commission reported that Joseph Kabila was the leading candidate with 8,880,944 votes, or 49% of the votes cast. He was followed by Etienne Tshisekedi with 5,864,775 or 32%.
The Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Kinshasa, Cardinal L. Monsengwo Pasina says the results correspond neither to truth nor justice. The Carter Center who observed the elections said that they lacked credibility. The Carter Center also observed that 2,000 polling station results numbering 750,000 votes were missing in Kinshasa alone. The European Union deplored the lack of transparency, and the irregularities in the collection, compilation and publication of the results. They also noted that results from 4,875 polling stations totaling 1.6 million votes were missing.
Steps taken by the Kabila regime ranging from the change in the constitution, appointment of a member of his party and close adviser as president of the electoral commission, and the stacking of the Supreme Court at the outset of the launch of the electoral campaign all strongly suggest a premeditated attempt to rig the elections or produce a fraudulent outcome.
In light of the acute political crisis in which the Congo is trapped, Friends of the Congo recommends that world leaders get fully engaged immediately and advance the following:
1. Refrain from recognizing Joseph Kabila as winner of the 2011 presidential election.
2. Facilitate a high-level mediation process made up of the Southern African Development Community, the African Union, The European Union, The United Nations, select respected former African heads of states and representatives from the United States, England and China.
3. Assure that the will of the people is accurately reflected in the legislative elections.
It is critical that the current political crisis in the Congo is given the attention it deserves with the particular focus on making sure that the will of the Congolese people is respected.
Friends of the Congo
December 16, 2011