What happens next in the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo is going to be interesting. The true skinny, the informed word on the street if you prefer, is that Martin Fayulu won said election, the one result that those organising it weren’t and aren’t willing to accept.
This isn’t, not really, about the things we normally think of as politics. About which direction policy should move in, perhaps more egalitarian, or more market. This is more about who gets to be the stationary bandit in town – or perhaps even more precisely, who doesn’t. Josiph Kabila is the outgoing President and as with his father before him, Mobutu before him, there’s a certain amount of partaking in the benefits of office been going on.
So, as he steps down he desires to ensure that what’s his – however accumulated – remains his. This means that his successor should be someone who is willing to guarantee that continued ownership.
As the results poured in from observers and thousands of electronic voting machines, it became clear to Kabila’s camp that opposition leader Martin Fayulu had won by a decisive margin, diplomats and Congolese sources with direct knowledge of the events said. Fraught discussions began in Kabila’s team over whether to engineer a win for Shadary, a former interior minister, or anoint a different opposition candidate who might be willing to protect the political and financial interests of Kabila and his associates, the sources said. A week later, the electoral commission announced the election had been won by Felix Tshisekedi.
Whether that substitution is going to work well, only time will tell. But the above is really what it’s all about. Does the outgoing President and his mates get to keep the loot? Or not?