[Editorial Analysis] Change in Congo

Mains Paper 2: International Relations

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: India and its neighborhood- relations

Context

• After last month’s general election, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) is anxiously awaiting the first ever transfer of power via the ballot since gaining independence in 1960.

• President Joseph Kabila, who had already deferred the polls by two years, postponed them again by a week days before it was scheduled in December.

• He cited the Ebola outbreak in some provinces and the destruction of electronic voting machines in a fire in the capital Kinshasa as reasons for the latest delay.

• But Mr. Kabila’s critics dismissed these excuses as coming from a President in denial of his impending defeat after 17 years in power.

Background

• Their suspicions appeared to be justified, as prominent opposition leaders were barred from the contest by partisan courts and the election commission.

• The UN has voiced concerns over the quality of voting machines and the deployment of the state machinery to obstruct opposition campaigns, adding to the sense of uncertainty. Soon after polling closed on December 30, rival camps began to pronounce victory for their own sides.

• When the election commission last week announced Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress as the winner, it predictably created a controversy.

• Mr. Kabila’s candidate, former Interior Minister Emmanuel Shadary, was expected to romp home.

• In the event, Mr. Shadary, who faces accusations of human rights abuses, was ranked third. The outcome triggered intense speculation that Mr. Kabila had cut a deal to back Mr. Tshisekedi, son of a deceased opposition leader.

• The candidate who came in second, Martin Fayulu, a political outsider, has challenged the results.

• DR Congo’s Catholic church, which runs an independent poll observation mission, has questioned the official result and has even threatened to legally challenge it.

• It is but natural that DR Congo’s vibrant civil society groups should expect the judiciary to assert its independence, as did the court in Kenya following that country’s disputed 2017 elections.

Way forward

• There are real fears that without genuine attempts to uphold the rule of law, the central African nation could slip into protracted political uncertainty and social unrest.

• The U.S. has cautioned Mr. Kabila against attempting to doctor the popular mandate.

• But with an eye on the country’s lucrative mineral wealth, which is needed to power electric cars and the robotics revolution, there are limits to the pressure Western nations will want to exert on Kinshasa in the months ahead.

• The role of Mr. Kabila, who is just 47 years old, in the coming days will be important to watch.

• He has emphasised that by stepping down, he is merely respecting the constitutional mandate. The intent behind that assertion will be tested in the ensuing months.

———————————————

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) onsider the following statements:

A. Both the Life Insurance and the Non-life Insurance is governed by the IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory
and Development Authority of India).

B. Among the life insurers, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is the sole public sector company.

Choose the correct option:

A. A only

B. B only

C. Both A and B

D. Neither A nor B

Correct Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) To what extent a contentious election may lead to the country’s first transfer of power via the ballot. Critically examine.

Share article