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Congo’s elections, between hope and violence

On November 28th, both the Presidential and Legislative elections took place. Millions of Congolese went to the polls amid violence and confusion, to vote in the presidential and parliamentary polls nationwide. Thousands of international peacekeepers and monitors were sent in the country to oversee the election but observers say they were beset by fraud, vote rigging; some polling stations have been attacked and burned…

This is the nation’s second postwar election since the end of the civil war in 2001; ten years have passed and nothing has really changed for the population. The Congo is now ranked as the least developed country on earth, and South Kivu is one of the worst conflict-affected areas in eastern Congo where the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) and the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) are more active than ever.

Despite all this, the courageous and determined Congolese people went to the polls. They want a change, they want a better, more secure place to live. Congo has  highly valuable minerals and natural resources I mentioned in Conflict minerals: the bloody Pandora’s Box… And there are motivated people in the country, working hard everyday to make it better although I still wonder: Darfur, Congo, Burma: is ‘good will’ enough?

Between hope and violence. Let’s hope the violence will not escalate. Let’s hope some people as well as countries will take their responsibilities eventually, face the problem head-on and do whatever it takes to end the violence. This election is the opportunity to take the bull by the horns and stop the compromises and corruption that are, literally, killing the country and its people. If only good will was enough…

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