The Other Election
November 8, 2006 8:28 AM   Subscribe

The vote count with a death toll in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the other election to watch right now. Joseph Kabila and Jean-Pierre Bemba, both of whom command large private armies say they will accept the results of the poll, though the truth of that remains to be seen. Bemba is implicated in war crimes (previously discussed here); and Kabila's inner circle controls much of the wealth of the DRC. Either way, a successful election would be better than a return to the war that killed 4 million people. And contrary to the paltry coverage the Congo receives in the news, what happens there matters to the rest of the world. But will the election results change the lives of Congolese civilians?
posted by cal71 (8 comments total)
It's a shame both candidates are such poor choices to lead the country.
posted by chunking express at 8:57 AM on November 8, 2006

Oh for Christ's sake. Take it to MetaTalk or shut up about it; don't derail every post that uses a caret. Your own preferences are not MeFi Law.

On topic: good post. People should be more aware of the Congo situation.
posted by languagehat at 8:58 AM on November 8, 2006

apologies for the caret...

I fear it will be business as usual no matter who wins, exploiting the people and the land to enrich a few big shots. But the act of staging a relatively successful election that does not result in renewed war does create an atmosphere in which democratic change is possible as opposed to Congo's previous methods: assasination and war.
posted by cal71 at 9:56 AM on November 8, 2006

Some NGO workers who just got back from the Congo were telling me that the voting cards all have the picture of the candidate next to the name since they have a high illiterate population, and this also means that the voter cards are huge multi-page scrolls to fit all of the candidates.

I haven't found any examples to back this up though.
posted by destro at 10:11 AM on November 8, 2006

They did have pictures and were huge. Here's a sample (pdf).
posted by cal71 at 10:38 AM on November 8, 2006

Thank god that the the 4 million deaths that occured in the region, which when relativized to population make it one of the bloodiest conflicts in the history of the world, were only the product of tribal warfare.

Otherwise our ability to completely ignore what's going on in the DRC specifically and Africa in general might smack of racism and other things necessarily worse.

God. What the fuck. (God, what the fuck?)?
posted by Alex404 at 11:45 AM on November 8, 2006

I apologize for derailing slightly, though.

I have a vague memory of a reason to believe that Kabila might actually do well by the country.

The wikipedia article seems to confirm that.

I just hope that whatever the results of the election some good does come out of it for the people.
posted by Alex404 at 11:58 AM on November 8, 2006

Cheating accusations made today.

Kabila's a thug, but they all are. He might be the best thug in the bunch. As for the ethnic thing during the war, everyone with power played whatever ethnic card they could to get people to kill each other. In the end it was all about money and who got to control the natural resources.
posted by cal71 at 1:05 PM on November 8, 2006

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