The Stakes in Congo: Lives and Lifestyle

Townhall | 1/10/2019 | Staff
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If you advocate electric vehicles and dote on cellphones whose manufacture depends on Congo's minerals, then the Democratic Republic of Congo's flawed Dec. 30 presidential election matters because it can affect your digital lifestyle.

Congo - Stability - Matters - Value - Life

Congo's stability also matters if you value human life. In Congo's last civil war (Great Congo War, 1996-2003) some three million to five million people died in anarchic combat and from starvation, disease and exposure exacerbated by war.

The election to replace term-limited President Joseph Kabila was originally slated for late 2016. The constitution, which drew on the peace agreement that ended the civil war, required he cede power.

Crook - Regime - Vote - Power - Years

But the crook didn't. Kabila and his corrupt regime delayed the vote and held power for another two years. During his unconstitutional extension, Kabila sought ways to continue to dominate the executive branch, either through a surrogate or by retaining personal rule.

Kabila and other corrupt elites use the presidency and its bureaucracies to plunder for personal gain. Controlling access to Congo's world-class mineral deposits is a lucrative scam but by no means their only graft and looting gambit.

Corruption - Constitution - Intimidation - Opponents - Security

Rampant corruption, shredding the constitution and the physical intimidation of opponents by pro-Kabila security forces have seeded public rage of the sort that explodes when triggered.

A contested election is a trigger. If Kabila decides to remain in office under the guise of maintaining security until disputes are resolved, violent street reaction is guaranteed. Chances of this igniting another civil war cannot be dismissed.

Congo - Neighbors - War - War - Dec

Congo's neighbors understand a revived civil war could expand to a regional war. On Dec. 27, representatives from several central and southern African nations met in the "other Congo," the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville (a DRC neighbor). They discussed how to respond to "spillover" conflict from Congo should post-election violence erupt. To...
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