Sunday, August 06, 2006

DRC election mess

Sadly, the promising elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo risk descending into exactly the kind of farce that some expect in an African election. While voting day itself got the thumbs up, international observers have reported that counting has been, well, rather creative. They've reported votes being dumped and vote tallies that do not add up. Monitors in the eastern part of the country have said their work has been severely restricted. There was a suspicious fire in one of the main voting stations in the Kinshasa, an opposition stronghold, destroying large numbers of ballots. The center was meant to process a quarter of the ballots in the capital. It's not clear which of these represent malfeasence and which represent the chaos to be expected in a country holding its first free elections in the lifetime of most of its citizens. Hopefully, authorities will get a handle on things quickly to ensure the credibility of these key elections will be respected by the population. This may be the DRC's best chance in a generation to get it right.

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