Monday, July 31, 2006

Elections in the Congo

Over the weekend, Congolese voters went to the polls in a national multi-party vote.

Citizens streamed to the polls on foot, by bike, in cars and trucks and even by dugout canoe. No small task given the size of the country, few paved roads and impenetrable jungle. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (which is different than the neighboring Republic of the Congo) is one of the poorest and most violent places on earth.

According to observers, the elections went off without widespread complications.

The elections were aimed at ending a long civil war, with 32 candidates, including incumbent Joseph Kabila, contesting the presidency.

Over 9,000 candidates stood for parliament. Some 25m voters were protected by 17,000 UN peacekeepers.

We'd all like to see peace and prosperity in this part of the world. But do we really think it is going to be realized? Given their track record, whomever gets elected, it will be more of the same -- the few enriching themselves at the expense of the masses. That's the way its always been; the way it will always be.

Pessimistic on Africa? Yea. But I'd love to be proven wrong.

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