Democratic Republic of Congo: Upcoming elections bring more imperialist interference
This article was first published in Avante, the weekly newspaper of the Portuguese Communist Party, on Nov. 29. Its author was formerly a member of the Secretariat of the PAIGC, the party leading the struggle for the liberation of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. Translation by WW Managing Editor John Catalinotto.
Nov. 19 — The U.S. and the European Union see Africa through the prism of colonialism. Statements by EU Commissioner Federica Mogherini are a crude example of insults and attempted interference in the upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Until they defeat the current version of colonialism, there will be no future for African peoples.
In the Congo, the electoral campaign for the presidential, legislative and provincial elections is set for Dec. 23. The president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), Corneille Nangaa, expressed hope that the campaign, which lasts until the day before the election, will continue without violence, as it has so far.
More than 40 million Congolese are registered in the electoral rolls. They will choose from among 19 candidates for the presidency of the country, 15,355 candidates for the 500 seats in parliament and 19,640 candidates for the 26 provincial assemblies.
The current president, Joseph Kabila, is not running for office due to constitutional rules that prohibit his candidacy for a third term. The candidate of the Common Front for the Congo, supported by Kabila, is Emmanuel Shadary, former minister of the Interior; he is the favorite.
The Congolese opposition is divided on the presidential election.
The largest party in the opposition is the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), which is running its leader, Felix Tshisekedi. Vital Kamerhe of the Union for the Congolese Nation, who retired from the race, is supporting Tshisekedi. Together they founded the Towards Change Alliance.
Another candidate who retired from the race was Freddy Matungulu of the party Our Congo. Matungulu is supporting Martin Fayulu of the Compromise for Citizenship and Development movement.
Fayulu is also supported by two influential politicians, both of whom have been excluded from the election due to legal problems: Pierre Bemba of the Congo Liberation Movement and Moise Katumbi of the Juntos party.
CENI invited observers from the African Union, the Southern African Development Community and the International Organization of Francophone countries to monitor the electoral process. Unlike what happened in previous elections, observers from the European Union and the U.S. Carter Foundation were not invited to observe this one.
A CENI official told the Jeune Afrique magazine that the Carter Foundation’s report on the 2011 elections almost caused a war in the country and that the U.S. organization had shown a lack of professionalism.
As for the European Union, it imposed sanctions against 15 Congolese figures for “human rights abuses” after the end of Kabila’s second term in December 2016 and the postponement of elections.
Last week, EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said in Brussels that the future commitment to the new democratically elected Congolese authorities will depend on the “quality of the elections” next month.
“The European Union will closely monitor the conduct of the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which must be inclusive, transparent, credible and peaceful, and its future engagement in the development of that African country will depend upon this.” (eeas.europa.eu, Nov. 22)
It is a clear indication that, regardless of the electoral results — and especially if they are antagonistic to the interests of Washington and Brussels — the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country with enormous natural resources, will continue to experience pressure, interference and even military aggression from imperialist powers. This has been a constant since the Congo’s independence in 1960.