The Enough Project along with a coalition of human rights advocates and conflict analysis NGOs—including Eastern Congo Initiative, Humanity United, International Crisis Group, Open Society Foundations, Eastern Congo Initiative Fellow Anthony W. Gambino, Hoover Institution Visiting Fellow Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, and Congo analyst and author Jason Stearns—released a statement yesterday expressing concern over the lack of response from the U.S. government and other donor nations in dealing with the growing crisis of legitimacy in the Congo over recent elections.
As the current President of Congo, Joseph Kabila, swears himself in today for another five-year term, evidence of fraud and violence continue to swirl around the electoral process. Without credible and transparent verification of the election results, Kabila risks greater marginalization of millions of Congolese voters, as well as pushing his own state further down the path of illegitimacy and instability. The Congolese people showed tremendous commitment to the democratic process on election day and deserve to have their voices counted freely and fairly.
The coalition is calling on the U.S. government and other donor nations to take four immediate actions:
1) State clearly that they do not perceive the election results as legitimate and call on President Kabila to delay his inauguration ceremony until steps are taken to address these serious allegations. If the inauguration proceeds as scheduled, the United States and other international missions should consider non-attendance or at a minimum send a lower ranking diplomatic officer instead of the Ambassador.
2) Immediately ask for the deployment of an independent international mediation commission formed under international and regional auspices. The commission will have a mandate to review the technical aspects of the electoral process and facilitate a solution to the crisis.
3) Call on the appropriate authorities to immediately halt the counting of the parliamentary election ballots until clear guarantees are put in place to ensure the credibility of the tallying process.
4) Make clear statements that the U.S. and other members of the international community are determined to ensure accountability for perpetrators of electoral and post-electoral violence in the appropriate international or national fora. Call on Congolese state security forces, in particular the Republican Guard, to cease immediately all abuses against civilians.
Read the full statement.
Photo: Congo President Joseph Kabila, front second from right, waves to supporters as he is accompanied by his wife Olive to formally file his candidacy for the 2011 presidential elections, in Kinshasa, Congo. (AP /John Bompengo)