Elections Towards Peace and Stability
In D.R. Congo
By Rutagengwa Claude Shema
Great Lakes Peace Initiative (GLPI)
Elections and conflict
Formerly Za´re, the Democratic Republic of Congo now faces the bloodiest conflict, one that wiped out more that 3.000.000 victims since the beginning of hostilities between central government and the rebels.
The victims of the hostilities include an enormous number of children. On the average, 600 children die each day in that country, because of direct or indirect conflict-related causes. Furthermore, hundreds of women and little girls are raped every day.
In an effort to solve these problems, in conjunction with the international community, the Congolese government organized general elections in July, 2006. These are the first multi-party elections since independence in 1960. Of course, the election in this country is the key to a better future for Congoman people. At the same time, a key issue in the conflict is far from winning elections, but bringing about positive change instead.
After election, the end of transition
The importance of elections after a certain transition period has been perceived as the pathway towards peace and stability. But with the experience of the conflict’s background to date, this principle became a pure theory because winning elections and ending hostilities is different. And sometimes, in so many countries, the one who wins elections is the one who make chaos. When we look at the example of the Bush administration in United States, we find out that despite the fact that President Bush was officially elected, he is the one who put the American people in infinite danger. The consequences are enormous (i.e.: the death of US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan surpasses the number of WTC victims, more anger with many Muslims and Arab people against Americans).
Another example is the Ahmdnajad administration. If the tension between him and the UNSC hadn’t received any common understanding, would he have provoked a huge conflict and put his country in chaos?
Back to DRC: whoever won elections, the most important task to achieve is to make sure that conflict ends. It is the end of transition that marks the beginning of stability in power, but the sustainability of good governance is the backbone of every single nation.
Some important steps to make
In order to gain sustainable development of DRC, we need to focus on some relevant issues like:
This would help to bring together all concerned (opposition, religious, Civil society, International community, experts, other opinion leaders) for constructive talks. Of course, sometimes it is not easy to come up with positive results, but it can in one way or another bring some new ideas on how to rebuild such a destroyed country. The main topic would be" how to rebuild our nation as Congolese"?
The two wars which ravaged DRC were led rebellions backed by neighboring countries ,namely Rwanda and Uganda (Laurent D. Kabila in 1996-1997,and 1998 onward).
Rwanda and Uganda played a key role in changing power and making troubles in that country. Both Uganda and Rwanda have done so in a bid to demolish rebellions backed in DRC. Since then, the relationship between those three countries has become worse. The worse it gets, the more that stability and development remain dreams in those countries of the great lakes region of Africa.
After elections, Congolese people must sit together and think about their future, making a national rebuilding plan by themselves for a better future of DRC. And also, neighboring countries must play a positive role in this regard, because their security relies on DRC security as well.