Friday, November 25, 2011 | Categories: Episodes
Part Two of The Current
After the DRC election ballots are counted - Philippe de Bard
We started this segment with the sound of campaigning on the streets of Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC. The country's election is scheduled for Monday. 11 people are running for president. And 18 thousand candidates hope to win one of parliament's 500 seats.
We played some internationally known Congelese music by Papa Wemba, singing his support for incumbent president, Joseph Kabila. The campaign music may be upbeat, but the future of the DRC is not. The country is almost as big as western Europe. Life as a colonial in the Belgian Congo was exceptionally harsh, and independence in 1960 brought coups and civil war. Even the country's name suggests instability. First the Congo, then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC is one of the poorest nations on earth, despite its immense mineral wealth.
Francky Balolebwani is a former teacher and human rights workers in Goma, in Congo's volatile east. He's been listening to the candidate's promises as they come through town looking for votes. We heard from him.
The area where Franky Balolebwani lives has been plagued by war and humanitarian crisis for more than a decade. Security remains one of his main worries. He says many voters are just not convinced that anyone can deliver on their promises.
This is only the second time in the country's recent history that voters have had a chance to cast ballots in a democratic election.
International election observers are in the DRC to try to ensure the election is fair. Philippe de Bard is deputy chief observer with the European Union observer mission. That mission includes six Canadian members.
We reached him in Kinshasa.
After the DRC election ballots are counted - Glenys Babcock
We started this segment with a clip from a voter in Kinshasa hoping for a transparent election and offering her support for opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi. She says he usually tells the truth. Passi Kassente, in Lubambashi also favours the opposition over the incumbent.
Even though there are 11 candidates for DRC president, it's widely believed that either Etienne Tshisekedi or the incumbent Joseph Kabila will get the job. But whoever wins, the trouble may be just beginning. Anaclet Tshimbalanga is a human rights advocate in Congo. We heard from Anaclet.
For many of the Congolese voters, it seems, regardless of who they support, there's an over riding desire is for an end to the violence. Glody Mfunkani Diasilua voted in that last election and will do so again.
Canadian Glenys Babcock is the President of Pragmora, an international peace building organization and policy think tank based in Toronto. She's recently back from a stint in the DRC, and joined us in Toronto.
Other segments from today's show: