Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nick got to be an election observer supervisor on election day, and with his fancy little badge he got to take pictures as much as he wanted and no one said a thing. Which is pretty much awesome. So him and 3 others traveled around to about a dozen election stations to check on observers that were trained through the ECC. (The Church of Christ of Congo) There were many issues with people being able to find their names, every person running for any type of office was aloud to have a 'witness' at every election station if they wanted, so some stations had about 100 witnesses and some had none. 
It started to rain about half way through the day, and here in Congo when it rains, everything just sorta stops, even if its inside. So when it started to rain, (and Congo rains aren't really a light sprinkle) they just sorta stopped taking people to vote and it was something that everyone sorta expected, even though it makes no sense to us.
Some places around the Congo did not get to Vote on the official voting day because they had not received the ballots, so they got to continue to vote 2 or even 3 days after. 

This is what Nick wrote about his election experience 

"It was an amazing opportunity to learn about DRC culture, politics, society, and history.  Only the 2nd chance these people have had to vote and I got to be there as an official observer!

For a country that is really just discovering its identity in this world, I thought the Election Day was a success.  Many people were able to vote and over 50% of the population showed up eager to have their say in who leads them in the global arena.

It is difficult to describe the details of the day without understanding the context in which these elections took place.  The past of this country is painted with so many diverse events that all shed light on what will happen in its future. 

As the day began the storm was building.  The rain has a way of making time stand still in Congo.  It’s not so much that time stands still but it causes all creation here to stop.  It is as if God organizes a rest for the land and provides it with refreshing perspective.  Weather changes moods, and during the voting the rain delivered patience and peace.

Many will remember the day they voted but now everyone is more focused on looking to what the results of the 2nd election will show."

So now the election results came out a couple days late, but they were announced as Kabila having won (Not official now until the 20th of Dec. They have until that date to dispute the result.)  In between the election and the results nothing was really going on in Kinshasa, no taxis running, so no one going to work, since no one going to work, the bread factories were not running, the markets were mostly closed. So all in all there was not much food being sold. So after a couple days people were going hungry (most people here do not have fridges.) And hunger and anger together are not a very good mix. So luckly after the results were announced the weekend was a little tense but then Monday rolled around and taxis were running, markets were selling and there was bread being made. So from our little eyes it looks like Kinshasa is back to its old self, bad traffic and all. 
We are not exactly too sure about what happen next week there are many irregularities 
"Then there are the suspicious turnout figures. In several districts, turnout was almost 100%, rates the Carter Center finds "impossibly high." This was the case in several territories of northern Katanga, Joseph Kabila's home turf (or, to be more precise, that of his father). The problem was not just the high turnout, but the fact that it coincided with almost 100% support for Kabila. In the territory of Malemba Nkulu, for example, turnout was 99,46%, with not a single one of the 266,866 votes going to anyone but the incumbent. In Kabongo territory, Kabila also received a perfect score (turnout was 91%), while in Manono, where Kabila received 99,98% of the vote, turnout was 100,14%... 
Finally, the process was flawed. Ballots were seen transported by private means - in several cases even by candidates - and in some cases ballot bags were opened and altered in violation of official procedures. The Carter Center suggested that in 15% of the compilation centers, security personnel could have influenced compilation; they also pointed out that some election official obstructed access for observers, including in the National Results Center in Kinshasa. In one flagrant case in the capital, the compilation center was closed and when it re-opened a large number of ballots had gone missing...
I should emphasize that none of the observers I have spoken with has weighed in on what he or she thinks the real results were. Tshisekedi would have to win 1,5 million votes and Kabila lose the same number for the final results to change." -Written by Jason Stearns from the Blog Congo Siasa

Now I do not know much about politics, especially Congolese politics, but one of the opposition candidates is taking the legal route for disputing the results which is very exciting, and the other doesn't trust the system so will not. 

So we would love your prayers, to pray for the powers at be, that are making all of the decisions in offices and meeting that I have no idea what is happening. It is easy just to say I would like them just to declare something and let it be over with so life will return as normal, but I do not want that to be the Goal. I would like the goal to be a free and fair Congo, so even if things are a little tense it is just the birthing pains of a New DR Congo. I know that the Lord has a plan for this place and is calling people in high positions to himself, to be fair and just. I believe it is much harder here to be a honest person then not, because if you are honest you are much easier taken advantage of, but that it what we long for, Love, Honesty, Justice. I do believe it is possible. Yes, yes I do. Who will believe with me?