Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kabila On The Verge of Victory but Bemba's Coalition and the Catholic Church Cry Foul

Kabila appears to be heading to victory in the presidential runoff with almost 95 percent of the votes counted, Kabila maintains a 60% to 40% lead over his rival Jean Pierre Bemba.

Bemba's Coalition, the Union for the Nation has rejected the results that have been issued by the Electoral Commission. Bemba has characterized the results as a product of systemic fraud and an attempt by the international community to steal the elections from the Congolese people. These sentiments have been echoed by Congo's top Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Frederic Etsou, who charged that the results being published do not reflect the actual votes cast by the people.

It is clear that there is a political crisis in the making. Even if Kabila wins, which is highly likely. It would be shocking to see the Electoral Commission accept or agree with any of the claims of fraud made by Bemba. The question of legitimacy which has dogged this process from the outset, is still very much the central issue to be resolved. The international community has not fully grasped the fact that the overriding issue is the legitimacy of whatever government is put in place and not the holding of elections. The holding of elections that results in an illegitimate government in the eyes of the Congolese is doomed for failure and the Congolese population will bear the brunt of the consequences.


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