The Elections in Congo

Caty Clément, Central Africa
Project Director, International Crisis Group, discusses the results of
Sunday’s election in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is hoped that
the fragile political process and elections will result in the first
democratically elected leader in the country since independence in
1960. The first round of elections in August were marred by violence.
The lack of stability in this vast area in central Africa has pulled in
other countries. The fighting has been marked in the east of the DRC
where much of the country’s wealth is located. It holds huge reserves
of gold, some 30% of the world’s diamond reserves, more than 70% of
coltan – a vital ingredient in mobile phones – and vast deposits of
cobalt, copper and bauxite. Militias also threaten stability elsewhere
in the country, notably in North Kivu and Ituri, but the capital is
likely to be the most sensitive location again. The DRC currently hosts
the world’s largest peacekeeping force, numbering around 17,000
soldiers. How prepared is Kinshasa for the results, and what are the
larger governance and security issues that must be addressed in order
to ensure Congo’s progression to a stable democracy? What are the
prospects for the wider region?

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