In Kinshasa, mistrust marks the electoral preamble

In Kinshasa, mistrust marks the electoral preamble

"If you have prepared the food, how can you not know what's in the pot?" Asks a policeman from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) metaphorically, looking sideways at the headquarters of the Electoral Commission.

The agent says in a statement to Efe without hiding, on the eve of a presidential election to elect the successor of the head of state, Joseph Kabila, who since 2001 has led this vast African country rich in minerals but with a very poor population.

The satiety of elections postponed three times in two years is noticeable in the streets, although the day before the vote reigns calm and normal.

"Even if it rains or snows, we will go to vote, even if we are tired and fed up, we will vote", assures Efe Marc Makelele, a young hustler.

As soon as someone in the city is asked about the elections, the answer usually includes phrases such as "Free real elections" or "Real results".

It is about the same slogans that have been heard in opposition rallies, but now heard on the streets.

Despite the fact that the campaign ended on Friday, December 21 and all electoral propaganda is prohibited, there are still electoral fences and posters on the walls, especially the pro-government candidate, the one appointed by Kabila to succeed him in the presidency, former Vice President Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary .

But for many the Kabila dolphin is not his favorite. "Throughout the campaign and throughout the country, we have known who is the most popular candidate, we do not want misadventures and that CENI (the Independent National Electoral Commission) publishes another candidate," says Makelele.

He refers, without saying any name -because all social criticism is made speaking quietly- to Martin Fayulu, the candidate of the opposition coalition Lamuka.

Fayulu has great recognition in the capital for not missing almost no demonstration against Kabila in recent years, but could get as much popularity as the latest survey – a 44% intention to vote – has surprised more than one.

"The most popular candidate is known and we hope that the CENI will publish it .. If CENI announces another, we fear that it will bring post-election problems," says Patow Bokende, an NGO worker in Mbandaka (northwest) who spends the Christmas holidays in Kinshasa. and will use it to vote.

Bokende alludes once again to Fayulu, but again without mentioning his name.

The credibility of the elections is not only the focus of international organizations and powers, but also of those Congolese who want to vote for two years, as mandated by the Constitution, after finishing the second and final term of Kabila in 2016 .

But, in addition, they are tired of issues such as insecurity, power games or bad governance.

"We are in a democratic country, it is not necessary for the police to traumatize people at all times by passing their weapons, we want to be free in our country!", Declares Efe Kalambay Efraín, a security agent in a telephone shop .

They all speak in Gombe, one of the central districts of Kinshasa, flanked to the north by the legendary Congo River and to the south by the Boulevard of June 30, one of the main arteries of the capital.

This area is home to the main government buildings, including the Palace of the Nation, the official residence where Joseph Kabila has lived for 17 years, after coming to power in 2001.

Nobody says his name. Nobody pronounces any name, but everything is clear.

Kabila "has fulfilled his time -zanja Efraín- and it's over, he has to leave and another will come to replace him".

Irene Escudero and Prince Yassa


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