December 19th

Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas is quickly approaching, but here in Congo thats not really the date we are watching for. December 19th has been a date that has been looming in all of our minds for about the last year and here it comes in just 4 days time.
December 19th is important because is it is supposed to be the last day of President Kabila's second term in office.
The first 2 democratic elections in this country (2005 and 2011) were aided and funded heavily by international groups. This year Congo is mostly on its own for organizing and paying for what was supposed to be an election year in 2016. Because of this... and probably some deliberate delays, elections in 2016 will not happen.
There have been many talks over the last year that have been more then just when the elections will happen. Talks have included, how it will be done (paper or electronic), if a census should be done first or at least a registry, what elections should happen (Federal, Provincial and Municipal or just Federal. Provincial and Municipal elections have not happened in over a decade)  and many other things.
With many opposing parties and differing views, these talks have been long, tedious, and with not much agreement. Half of the opposing parties half way through said the talks were unfair and stopped coming. There was some agreement that happened with the Majority party and the opposition that stayed in the talks but it was not representative since half of the opposition had boycotted the talks.
As many of you know clashes in September happened, many died on both sides. Since then protests have been not allowed or dissolved before they happened. But more then protesting, the people (at least here in Kinshasa) want to live their lives, they want to be able to buy bread, go to work and send their kids to school. They do not want another war, they do not want fighting. They want the constitution to not be changed and they would like to have the privilege that many of us take for granted. A peaceful election.
Right now, talks are happening again. This time with (hopefully) everyone involved, mediated by a different organization. Hope with these talks are to keep the peace on the 19th, then to hopefully come up with a solution the population and those watching from an international stage are okay with. Then it is the prayers of the people that this plan will be followed though up to and including an election in the next year or two.

"Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works." James 2:26

Please pray for the officials, diplomats,  councils, presidents and many others as they 'talk' that their words would not be empty. That instead of looking forward to the 19th as if bracing for impact that we will be able to look back one day and be able and say that it was a day that prepared Congo for a better, brighter future.