Presidential Elections in Congo and “Mystery” around Candidacies: Similarity to my “Mysterious Birthday”?

Technology developments have made some “mysteries” much easier to predict or understand. Though it took efforts to develop medical domain, at some point, I do assume that each and every context has had difficult to know exactly who will be one’s forthcoming new baby-born. Except these remote regions of my country (including my village), it is presently quite probable to determine if the forthcoming baby will be a boy or girl by earlier weeks of pregnancy. Then, what is mystery in one context can be such easier thing to manage due to experience, level of technology development as well as willingness to move forward.

There was a mystery on 8th August when I was born. No one could predict who would I be. It was until earlier morning around 2-3 AM that parents, relatives, neighbors and family members managed to get assured who is the third baby in my parents’ family. At this precise time, the long journey of months got to the end of something ‘uncertain’. This is a mystery moreover because the socio-security and political environment wouldn’t have allowed me to survive for a half century due to inexistent health and medical infrastructures. As a mystery, my birthday reminds another one ongoing right now and linked to presidential elections in Congo. The coincidence of my anniversary with the submission of presidential candidates’ files has inspired this post.

Though some of the candidates have already declared their intention to run for this ‘mystery’ election, there are yet unclear zones constituting a conundrum for a general election that culminate by presidential one on 23d December 2018. The deadline coincides with my birthday anniversary; that is, 08.08.2018. Up to now, Jean Pierre Bemba and Seth Kikuni are the two candidates who have submitted their applications. Few of them are still preparing their dossiers or just wait the last minute. However, some of these potential candidates are yet locked outside the country trying to cross the border from Zambia. Whether Moïse Katumbi Champwe, the former powerful Governor of Katanga will manage to cross Kasumbalesa’s border and then file in his presidential candidacy remains a mystery. Facing political and judicial encounters, it is hard to predict Katumbi’s fate in a near future. Besides Katangan influence in the inner circle of political and military spheres in Kinshasa, it seems that he will possibly be challenged by maneuvers around his exclusion. Conspiracy theory would also think that he stands firm as part of the plan to hold regional power in Katanga.

Several potential candidates have implicitly expressed to run for the ‘uncertain’ forthcoming presidential election. Contested from different angles, organizing elections would be tense as it signals already. Mukuna Mutombo, Felix Tshilombo, Mbuyamu Matungulu, Fayulu, Adolphe Muzito, Vital Kamerhe…are among those who will certainly be interested in occupying the Head of the State position. Some of these have already announced when they will submit their dossier at the Congolese Electoral Commission (CENI). The curious mystery is about the candidate for the ruling coalition, mainly the ruling party. This is the mystery connected to the incumbent President Kabila’s temperament of keeping the nomination as much as secret. While unlike to rule out Kabila’s candidacy, the mystery will become known late the 8th August evening. This is the mystery more or less similar to my birthday. I can guess that the file will be submitted around 20h PM. Nevertheless, I am yet feeling the incumbent president candidacy as being one of the probable option that will be taken by the FCC (Front Commun pour le Congo) coalition. Besides contestation that would arise around it, the choice is yet on the table as the regional and African experience has shown. His candidacy will approximately lead to violent confrontation; but the root causes of these confrontation are wide, deeper and complex than one’s candidacy.

By organizing presidential elections, are we heading towards the right path to have ordinary citizen enjoying their rights and expectations? Not quite sure as an answer to this question would unfold the deep and covert mystery. Falling within a top-down approach to resolving Congo’s crises, presidential elections have slightly helped to fix these challenges. The top-down approach portrays a type of roof posed on a fragile foundation. It remains unclear over why local and municipal elections haven’t ever constituted a priority for the international community and Congolese State as part of building democracy at all levels. Just imagine my neighbor who, since I was born, hasn’t ever exercised this right of electing local leaders but being pushed towards electing a candidate whom he never had even a chance to watch her/him on a screen. That is a mystery! Moreover, these candidates have for a long time been absent at the local scene though present during the heating electoral period. As we follow and see people dropping each second/minute a tweet, we tend to think everyone is present and represented on Twitter or Facebook. It might not be the case.

In addition, there might be a mystery over why someone will elect any given candidate. This is a huge debate around political program. What make a difference between X, Y and Z candidates remains debatable. They are all popular, charismatic opponents etc. Besides emotional feelings, frustration sentiments as well as taking a trial and error game, each candidate can feel sympathized by the same supporters. The reason is electorate needs to have a time to understand the meaning of democracy, representation as well as the sense of the State responsibilities and nation building. Let us hope that all these mysteries would find answers on the date of my anniversary.

 

NTANYOMA R. Delphin

PhD Researcher in Conflict Economics

The Institute of Social Studies/

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Delphino12

Blog: www.easterncongotribune.com

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