By Staff


The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is in the last stage of its transition and will hold its determinant poll on 29 October. However, there have been clashes between President Kabila’s Alliance for the Presidential Majority (AMP) and Bemba’s Union for the Nation (UN) and violence was reported in some provinces. 

Kabila’s AMP showed an extraordinary determination to win the run-off compared to Bemba’s UN. The AMP concentrated its efforts in the western DRC where Kabila performed poorly in the first round. Kabila’s camp mobilized both the youth and women and used famous Congolese musicians like Koffi Olomide, Papa Wemba and Tchala Mwana to influence supporters.


Kabila’s probable victory is also based on the support from political leaders from the western DRC like Antoine Gizenga and Mobutu Nzanga. With Palu-led government, Kabila will be able to control Kinshasa, Bandundu and Bas Congo. Also, many of the nationalists/Lumumbists will reinforce their support to Kabila because of Gizenga. In addition, with the participation of Nzanga Mobutu, Kabila will have more access to Equateur, Bemba’s stronghold. More so, Etienne Tshisekedi’s announcement that his UDPS will not support either candidate increases Kabila’s chances of winning.


Statistically, Kabila got 14.73 percent in Kinshasa, 13.91 percent in Bas-Congo, 1.85 percent in Equateur, 2.65 percent in Bandundu, 11.42 percent in Kasaï Occidental, 36.09 percent in Kasaï Oriental. But he garnered many votes from the remaining provinces ranging from 70.26 percent and 94.64percent of the votes. His allies performed well in some of these provinces and this is a clear indication that he will increase his votes there.


For example, Antoine Gizenga got 21.99 percent in Kinshasa, 80.09 percent in Bandundu and 14.74 percent in Kasaï occidental. Nzanga Mobutu got 30.57 percent in Equateur. Mathematically Kabila is therefore likely to win the run-off vote and increase his support from the western provinces.


On the other hand, Bemba received 49.07 percent in Kinshasa, 36.21 percent in Bas Congo, 63.67 percent in Equateur, 9.71 percent in Bandundu, 31.93 percent in Kasaï Occidental, 14.66 percent in Kasaï Oriental, 5.2 percent in Province Oriental, 3.51 percent in Katanga but failed to get at least one percent in the remaining provinces of South Kivu, North Kivu and Maniema.


Apparently, the most powerful ally of Bemba is Oscar Kashala who came in fourth in the first round with 3.46 percent and performed well in Kinshasa with 7.65 percent, 6.5 percent in Bas-Congo and Kasaï Occidental and Kasaï Oriental where he got 17.78 percent and 17.87 percent respectively. Other influential allies of Bemba include former Prime Minister Kengo wa Dondo, Joseph Olengankoy and Lunda Bululu.


The Great Lakes Centre for Strategic Studies (GLCSS) maintains its previous analysis and supports the forecast that Kabila will win the run-off by a wide margin. A primary factor that could upset this forecast was the continual election violence.


GLCSS believes the canceled debate between the candidates and the surprisingly canceled Bemba rally in Kinshasa hurt Bemba. Some Congolese interviewed by GLCSS said that Kabila feared the debate because he is not fluent enough in Lingala to face Bemba, who apparently wanted to use the debate as an effort to convince the Congolese voters to vote for him.


Kabila’s failure to publicly engage his rival in a debate was strategically handled by the AMP, which participated in debates and rallies. Famous public speakers like Olivier Kamitatu, Vitar Kamerhe, Moise Katumbi, Antoine Gizenga, Nzanga Mobutu, Leonard She Okituntu were active in campaigning for Kabila.


The run-off campaign was marred with violence resulting in several deaths, injuries and damages. Tension intensified during the last week of the campaign in different provinces where both AMP and UN have supporters.


In addition, there has been an increase of political intolerance and clashes that resulted in violence. On 26 October, the Union for Mobutists Democrats (UDEMO) president and Kabila’s ally, Nzanga Mobutu, while in Gbadolite at Bemba’s Liberty radio station was entangled in clashes between his bodyguards and Bemba’s soldiers, and at least four people died. GLCSS military sources confirmed the incident adding that Nzanga had been under the protection of Major General Gabriel Amisi, the FARDC infantry commandant.

GLCSS diplomatic sources report that since Nzanga Mobutu decided to support Kabila instead of Bemba, there has been increasing hatred towards Nzanga among Bemba supporters mostly based in Equateur, which is the home of both candidates. In fact, Bemba’s camp has been discouraged by Nzanga’s decision to join the AMP as it increased Kabila’s support in Equateur and reduced Bemba’s chances to increase his votes.
In Lodja, Kasai Oriental province one Bemba supporter was killed allegedly by Kabila’s soldiers. Two pro-Kabila radio stations and one pro-Bemba radio station were burned and damaged. The provocation was reportedly started by pro-Kabila CCU (Convention for the Unified Congolese, a party led by Lambert Mende) members who attacked a supporter of Bemba, who was carrying his photograph. The burnt radio stations were Lossangania (of Lambert Mende), Grand Tam Tam (of Charles Okoto) both pro-Kabila, and radio Sankuru Liberty (of Olengankoy Joseph) Bemba’s UN director for electoral campaigns.


In Goma, North Kivu province, Bemba supporters’ convoy was attacked and at least two cars were damaged by Kabila’s supporters. On 24 October in Lubumbashi, Katanga province Bemba’s supporters led by Pastor Theodore Ngoy, who was heading to Katuba Commune to campaign for provincial elections were stoned by their opponents leading to injuries.


GLCSS maintains it position that the core question that will govern the DRC’s future is the ability to establish good governance and for President Kabila, if elected, to deliver services and economic improvements. The election violence and the issues surrounding this campaign demonstrate that elections without the establishment of an understanding of rule of law issues and good governance are an empty effort.


William Church, director of Great Lakes Centre for Strategic Studies can be reached at 

GLCSS trains African journalists, offers an on-site internship to foreign African studies students, and manages an exchange program with journalists from the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe.

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