Advancing a Free Society

Joseph Kabila and Where the Election in Congo Went Wrong

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is going to the polls today and tensions are high. From Kinshasa to Lubumbashi, from Goma to Mbuji-Mayi, clashes have broken out between supporters of incumbent President Joseph Kabila and opposition groups. At least 30 people have been killed; many more have been wounded.

It was not supposed to be like this. After 32 years of kleptocratic rule by the Cold War-era strongman Mobutu Sese Seko, the European Union spent more than half a billion dollars in Congo to underwrite a nationwide election in 2006. It was not perfect, but it was a success. Kabila won the race with 58 percent of a runoff vote with then Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba.

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