Elections in the Congo
This news has gotten very little attention.
KINSHASA, Congo - Millions of Congolese voted in the country's first multiparty election in four decades Sunday, the culmination of years of postwar transition that many pray will herald stability for the tumultuous central Africa region that Congo anchors.A free election and getting most parties to accept the election is a good first step. True democracy isn't born overnight or without turmoil. A free election is a good first step. Governing while at the same time accepting peaceful opposition in and out of government is the next step. The Congo has seen too much blood shed for too long. Here's hoping the parties there see the wisdom to co-operate with one another. Fifty Eight million people deserve better.
But with militia fighters still raping and looting in the lawless east, former rebel leaders on the ballot and a leading politician boycotting the vote, persuading all parties to accept the results may be the toughest task of all.
Voters, including many casting ballots for the first time in their lives, feared wars that set central Africa ablaze could flare anew if Congo's democratic experiment fails.
Vote counting began after polls closed Sunday evening, but final results were not expected for weeks. Results will be hand tabulated and transported to Kinshasa by plane, truck and boat.
"Some say Africa is shaped like a pistol and Congo is the trigger," said Jean Kaseke, a 38-year old pastor heading up a line that formed before dawn at a polling station in the capital, Kinshasa. "If Congo can succeed, all of Africa can do it."
Congo's path to Sunday's watershed moment — the first multiparty elections for president since independence from Belgium in 1960 — has been one of turmoil and deep privation for Congo's 58 million people.
Some 25 million registered voters were also selecting a 500-member legislature to replace a national-unity administration arranged under peace accords that officially ended a 1998-2002 war.
President Joseph Kabila, now 35, became one of the world's youngest leaders in 2001 when he inherited power after the assassination of his father, Laurent Kabila, who ousted the corrupt, 32-year dictator Mobutu Sese Seko four years earlier in a Rwandan-backed rebel advance across the country.
Open Post- Basil's Blog, Bullwinkle Blog, Adam's Blog, Random Yak,