On December 30th there were elections in DRC. The important question for this campaign is: how will the change of power in DRC affect the situation for women in the country?
This question can be answered in multiple ways. If you want to read a political analysis in regard to changes of power in the Democratice Republic of Congo and the difference between the government and the opposition, we strongly recommend you to read the blog post “Kabila vs Bemba” on this page.
First of all, we want to remember everyone about the fact that #oursisters does not support any particular political candidates or have any political or economic interests involved in the DRC. The following summary about the Congolese elections is a short summary of what has been said in media.As stated in the blog post, neither Kabila or Bemba were a candidate in the elections held on December 30. Before the elections were held, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary was told to be Kabila’s “favorite”. Shadary was Kabila’s interior minister and it was stated that Shadary would just keep “the seat warm, before Kabila’s return to power in the next elections”. Nevertheless, Shadary did not win the elections. Instead it came down to Felix Tshisekedi vs Martin Fayulu. Tshisekedi won and he was sworn in as president on January 24. However, after the results of the elections were published, there was a huge amount of criticism against Tshisekedi in media. According to independent monitors – including the Catholic Church – the elections were rigged and Fayulu had actually won the election. With a focus on Shadary pre-elections, there were less spotlight on Tshisekedi before the elections. Another line of criticism is the fact that the elections were postponed from December 23 to December 30 due to burning voting machines. In addition, the elections in some parts of the country were postponed until March 2019. The most sincere criticism comes from the fact that Tshisekedi – allegedly – made a deal with Kabila of a peaceful transfer of power. This peaceful transfer of power meant that Tshisekedi would peacefully take over the presidential office and Kabila would serve as a “guiding hand” in the beginning.
It is impossible to say what impact a president will have at the beginning of his or her, presidency. The criticism against Tshisekedi mentioned above is the criticism that has been raised in news papers. #oursisters does not support Fayulu, nor Tshisekedi. We want to unite people with different political opinions in the fight against sexual violence in DRC. However, at this point, we highly doubt that the situation for women in DRC will improve due to Kabila’s exit from the presidential seat. On the other hand, this campaign is not just about the Congolese government’s use of rape as a weapon of war – it is about the fact that other countries legitimize the use of rape as a weapon of war. That problem will not be solved by a change of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo.