Weekly Education Update
DRC, Sudan, South Sudan
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Official results of the Congolese elections gave incumbent President Joseph Kabila 49% of the vote, followed by 32% for opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi and 7.7% for Vital Kamerhe. Voter turnout was 58% countrywide.
However the results have been highly criticized by numerous election monitors, including the Carter Center as well as the European Union and the United States. The US ambassador to the country, James Entwistle, cited irregularities and a lack of transparency in the process. “The United States believes that the management and technical execution of these elections were seriously flawed,” he said yesterday. The US and other Western donors have already offered technical assistance to the country to identify and analyze voting irregularities.
The Carter Center released a highly anticipated report on the Congolese election process on December 10th, concluding that the presidential elections “lack credibility”. The Carter Center had 26 teams of observers monitoring in the country, and found discrepancies between provinces ranging from proper procedure to serious irregularities. Irregularities include the loss of the results from over 2,000 polling stations in Kinshasa (representing as many as 350,000 voters) and another 1,000 polling stations across the country (representing 500,000 voters) as well as impossibly high voter turnout. “Based on the detailed results released by CENI, it is also evident that multiple locations, notably several Katanga province constituencies, reported impossibly high rates of 99 to 100 percent voter turnout with all, or nearly all, votes going to incumbent president Joseph Kabila”.
The Catholic Church has also spoken out against the elections and now publicly supports the Carter Center’s findings. The Catholic Church is arguable one of Congo’s most influential institutions, and even deployed 30,000 election observers around the country. The Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, told the press that CENI’s results conformed “with neither truth nor justice” saying that “these observations pose a serious credibility problem for the election”.
In the face of the onslaught of criticism from the global community and Congolese diaspora, the government has released their own report on the elections.
While President Kabila has conceded that some problems did arise during the electoral process, he is adamant that the results were credible. In a news conference three days after the Carter Center’s findings were published, he reacted saying that “the credibility of these elections cannot be put into doubt.”
In contrast, Tshisekedi immediately rejected the results as fraudulent and has declared himself the true President due to popular support in the country. He has called for protests across the country to “protect” his presidential victory. The opposition has until the 17th to contest the results formally in the Supreme Court or Kabila will be confirmed as the official winner. However this will be difficult, as the opposition has little faith in the court due to a large number of judges who were appointed in the run-up to the elections who are sympathetic to Kabila.
The government has reacted swiftly to crack down on opposition supporters throughout the country, using anti-riot policemen and the elite presidential guard to suppress dissent in the capital city of Kinshasa. Several people have been killed in clashes between state security and protesters and an undisclosed number of young men have been abducted from their homes. People living in Kinshasa are apparently afraid to leave their homes, as the crackdown intensifies and the ban on SMS text-messaging has continued.
For a recap of all the international reactions to the Congolese elections, check out Free Fair DRC’s new report here.
Sudan and South Sudan
Salva Kiir promised prospective investors that his government is determined to take all measures that would improve good governance. He stressed that “as part of strengthening governance we shall also ensure that the environment is safe and secure for development and investment to take place”. South Sudan is being introduced both to aid organizations and to private companies, seeking to jump start the economy and open up new opportunities, particularly in the oil and agriculture sectors at an international conference hosted by the United States.
Child labour is an increasing in South Sudan according to Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare in Unity state due to displacement from conflict and as their parents are not able to provide for them. Unity state government officials say the increase in street children and child labour is due to insecurity caused by the rebel South Sudan Libertation Army (SSLA), which has recently attacked Mayom, Rubkotna and Abiemhnom counties causing displacement.
South Sudan’s chief negotiator Pagan Amum on Tuesday (December 13th) said that his country reached an agreement with its northern neighbor on the oil transit fees after months of intense negotiations. Other countries, including China, had been pressuring Sudan and South Sudan to resolve the oil question peacefully.
Rebels fighting the Sudanese government in South Kordofan State have reported fresh clashes in which 19 people were killed on Saturday (December 10th) as Sudan’s army claimed it choked rebels’ supplies of arms.
A senior United Nations official warned that Sudan and South Sudan could go to war over the disputes related to the secession of the south and military conflicts on the border region. “The situation in Sudan and South Sudan is at a difficult juncture, with a very low trust between the countries, heightened rhetoric, and mutual accusations,” said United Nations Peacekeeping chief Hervé Ladsous at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) briefing.
About 417,000 people have been displaced in Sudan’s border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile as a result of ongoing fighting between the army and insurgents, according to the United Nations. Fighting broke out between Sudan’s army and SPLM-North rebels in June in South Kordofan which borders newly-independent South Sudan. Violence spread to the neighboring northern border state of Blue Nile in September.
The education update is produced every Thursday to update STAND members and the advocacy community about developments with regards to genocide and crimes against humanity. For more information contact the following:
Education Coordinator: Sean Langberg firstname.lastname@example.org
Sudan Education Coordiator: Emma Smith email@example.com
DRC Education Coordinator: Siobhan Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org
Emerging Crises Education Coordinator: Tom Dolzall email@example.com