Congo-Kinshasa: An Urgent Call to Respect the Will of the Congolese People

An Urgent Call to Respect the Will of the Congolese People

DRC Coalition (Washington, DC)
September 11, 2006

On July 30, 2006, the Congolese people demonstrated their desire for a peaceful and democratic process in the Congo by exercising a basic human right denied to them for the last 40 years: they voted.

The long overdue presidential election received praise from all corners of the globe.

Unfortunately, when the Independent Electoral Commission announced a run-off election would be necessary, supporters of both leading candidates in Kinshasa responded with violence.

Such unrest violates the spirit and aspirations of the Congolese people who yearn to rebuild their nation and live in peace and stability. The creation of sub-commissions by the UN Mission to the Congo that are tasked with investigating this violence and ensuring a peaceful run-off election is a positive step forward. However, international support is critical to preventing the outbreak of further violence as the election process continues.

We call on the international community to support the democratic process and the work of the commission by:

--Rejecting all attempts by any party to hijack the otherwise peaceful election.

--Holding both candidates accountable to their commitment to support the commissions.

--Accepting the final vote of the Congolese people in the upcoming runoff election.

The votes of the people are not votes solely for one candidate or another but rather for a transparent democratic process through which political leaders assume power through the will of the people and are held accountable to those who elected them.

Optimum bi-lateral and multilateral pressure must be brought to bear on all parties and their supporters to respect the wishes of the Congolese people and the outcome of the upcoming run-off election. The interests of the 17 million Congolese who voted must not be subordinated to the interests of armed groups.

As people of conscience and goodwill, we must join in solidarity and partnership with the Congolese people to see this very fragile but critical process through in a peaceful manner. Current and future generations of Congolese deserve the opportunity to rebuild their nation, experience peace, stability and a leadership that lives up to the dignity and courage shown by the voters on July 30, 2006.

The DRC Coalition:

Friends of Congo

Run For Congo Women

Congolese Community of Southern California

International Rescue Committee

Oxfam America

Open Society Institute

World Relief

Muadi Mukenge, Global Fund for Women

National Peace Corps Association – Friends of the Congo

Congo Peace Action Network

Council for Peace and Reconciliation, Bukavu (COPARE)

Tous Unis Pour Batir (TUBA/KiKuiT)

The Bayindo Group SA

Mama Makeka House of Hope

Dignity, Inc.

Mennonite Central Committee

Bureau pours le Volontariat au service de l'Enfance et la Sante (BVES)

Coalition des Pluralistes et des Patr