Why Congo’s chaotic election matters (The Economist – December 18, 2023)


The country is a vortex of instability at the heart of Africa

One of the world’s least orderly elections will be held on December 20th. Or will it? A presidential ballot is scheduled in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a mineral-rich but breathtakingly poor country of 100m people. However, the preparations have been so shambolic that some locals expect a delay, or an extension of voting.

Many areas will not receive crucial papers for recording the results by election day. By one estimate 70% of voter-identity cards are illegible, raising fears that some people will be barred from voting, while others will vote twice. And those are just some of the problems in the parts of the Congo that are not at war.

Fighting has forced 7m Congolese people to flee from their villages, including 450,000 in the six weeks to the end of November. A confusion of conflicts makes life in much of the east of the country unbearable—some of the militias there loot rapaciously and seek to subjugate local populations through mass rape. No other country, bar Sudan, endures displacement on such a scale.

One of the strongest militias, the m23, is backed by Rwanda, though Rwanda denies it. Tensions between the two countries are frighteningly high. Some observers fear open war may break out; Avril Haines, the White House intelligence chief, has been bending ears in both countries’ capitals to avert such a calamity, and seems to have brokered a temporary ceasefire in their proxy war.

For the rest of this article: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2023/12/18/why-congos-chaotic-election-matters?utm_content=article-link-4&etear=nl_today_4&utm_campaign=r.the-economist-today&utm_medium=email.internal-newsletter.np&utm_source=salesforce-marketing-cloud&utm_term=12/18/2023&utm_id=1835927