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Never in its history has Congo experienced a peaceful transfer of power. The prospects that it might do so soon grew brighter last week, when a government spokesman announced that Kabila will not stand for elections scheduled for this December. Instead, he has endorsed a candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, from his own party.
Kabila has taken an unexpected first step toward walking out the front door. Now, the very same Western governments and international organizations that can claim some credit for pushing him toward the exit should make sure he steps through it—and applaud him when he does.
Within his own ruling coalition, he ensured that no successor emerged. In recent years, the leaders of Burundi, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda have maneuvered to stay in power long after their constitutions said they should have gone.
Yet the stakes were always much higher in Congo, a country the size of Western Europe and home to some 83 million people. And still, Kabila showed no signs of stepping down as president.
Ironically, he never wanted the job in the first place. Kabila was raised in Uganda and Tanzania, where his father lived in exile after giving up on leading a Marxist rebellion in Congo.
As one longtime Africa expert at the U. Fear was one motivation for holding on to power. Kabila was well aware of the violent ends his predecessors met, and out of power, he could have wound up in prison or dead.
To step down was to enter the great unknown, and so, for the sake of his personal safety, he chose to temporize. Money probably played a role in his thinking, too. Then there are the far more profitable off-the-books schemes—namely, corrupt mining deals that divert billions of dollars of state revenues into private bank accounts.
There is a lot of cash moving around and little transparency. As Kabila dug in, he faced greater pressure to leave.
He is deeply unpopular—one poll released in March found that 74 percent of Congolese wanted him to relinquish power immediately—and protesters took to the streets to express their displeasure, braving live fire from security forces.
Youth activist groups gained strength. Kabila responded by rounding up critics and stocking up on water cannons, riot gear, and tear gas. Western governments, for their part, steadily ratcheted up sanctions against Congolese officials, freezing their assets and restricting their travel.
In June, the U. The United States laid down a sharp redline, making it clear that Kabila had to hold elections before the end of this year.
On this front, give credit where credit is due: Kabila being Kabila, however, one cannot be certain elections will be held until they actually are.
Some activists worry that his announcement was merely a way to navigate the immediate crisis posed by the deadline for registering to run, and that he could still find a way to renege on his promise.
And even if elections do finally take place, there is no guarantee they will be free and fair. The last round of elections, held inwere not:Lone Star College System Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, TX - MAPS | HELP | JOBS | ACHIEVING THE DREAM | EMPLOYEE INTRANET. Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, is a philanthropist, technologist and humanitarian.
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HIS Week 3 The Evolution of Democracy in the Early Republic Create a word essay depicting the evolution of democracy from the time of President Jefferson to President Jackson.
Be sure to include the following: 1. How was the form of the American Republic different under Jackson than it was under Jefferson?
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