More than18,500 candidates to stand as MPs in Congo DR

More than18,500 candidates to stand as MPs in Congo DR

Next Monday, November 28, 2011, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will hold its second Presidential election in the past 50 years.

Here below are the quick fact about the country and these historical polls:

  • DRC is the largest country in Africa by land mass with a population of 71 million.
  • There are 11 Presidential candidates and 18,500 parliamentary candidates with voters traveling to 63,000 polling stations.
  • DRC has $24 trillion of known mineral deposits. 80% of all known coltan reserves – coltan is required for every mobile phone, computer, games consol and TV.
  • DRC has the agricultural potential to feed 2 billion people (nearly a third of the world’s population).

And the leading opposition figure Étienne Tshisekedi states that ‘You cannot have a stable Africa without a stable DRC and that there is an overwhelming cry for change among the people of the DRC.

  • Calling himself  the “Congo’s Nelson Mandela”, Étienne Tshisekedi is standing for the Presidency for the first time in his 78 year stand against corruption, rape and violence in the country.
  • His campaign team alleges that the current President is using the mechanisms of the state to stay in power – including paying $25,000 to his MPs, and more $50,000 for opposition parliamentarians earlier this year to pass a law, removing the “Presidential runoff vote” in an attempt to make it easier for him to stay in power.
  • The current regime’s despotic and corrupt nature is forcing out USA, UK and EU investors because of corruption concerns. Driven by corporation CSR and also the Dodd Frank act.
  • Lack of western investors has opened the field up to China, which has been signing massive central government deals to secure the resources they need.
  • Current breaking news by UK MP Eric Joyce on the flipping of state assets to enrich the President and his close friends. Details on Eric’s blog.
  • No US coherent policy on DRC due to it complexities, but strategic importance to the west demands a rethink.
  • 100 US Marines ‘quietly’ stationed recently in the North East of the country to hunt down remaining rebels who control mineral deposits and continue the cycle of violence.
  • The US State Department seems content to allow the election to be corrupted in an attempt to reduce violence and instability in the country
  • A forgotten country, which requires attention – not just for the moral justifications but for real-politic.
  • US and western companies and consumers need the DRC mineral wealth for growth.
  • A new government will allow western consumers to deal with the Congo through the front door and not through the back door – which will help end the terrible cycle of violence, rape and murder in East of the Congo.
  • The largest mobilization of observers and logistical election support in the world has been deployed

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