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HomeElected OfficialsIssues and LegislationElection and CandidatesMedia Guide
Action Alert
Take Action Tell Congress to Promote Democratic Governance in the DRC

UPDATE: HR 6207 was passed by the House! We now ask advocates to contact their senators for passage of a companion bill. See the updated alert here.

The 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church passed an overture urging the government of the United States and international bodies to work to promote credible, fair, and transparent elections in the Congo through election monitoring and financial and technical support, and to respect the Constitution of the DRC.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is home to over 71 million people. The DRC has vast reserves of mineral wealth (including coltan, cobalt, copper, diamonds, tantalum, tin, lithium and gold), one of the continent’s largest forest reserves, and about half of Africa’s hydroelectric potential. In spite of this, the DRC remains one of the world’s poorest countries. In 2016, 16,370 Congolese people sought refuge in the USA, more than from any other country. 

The people of the DRC have suffered from war since 1996. While the war officially ended in 2003, violence has continued in many parts the country. Over 5 million people have died from fighting, disease, and poverty from the warfare. The US has the responsibility as part of a community of nations to protect the Congolese people.

DRC president Joseph Kabila took office in 2001, following the assassination of his father, Laurent-Désiré Kabila. He subsequently won elections in 2006, which were boycotted by the main opposition party, and again in 2001, which local and international observers considered seriously flawed. An election scheduled for November 2016 was postponed indefinitely, citing a lack of funds. Kabila’s refusal to leave office has created an ongoing constitutional crisis.

Now, elections have been scheduled for December 23, providing an important opportunity to test the people’s political will and begin to rebuild confidence in national democratic institutions.  US assistance can help the Congolese people to reclaim a culture of democratic participation through free, fair and credible elections.

In 2016, the United States provided about $340 million in assistance to the DRC through various USAID initiatives. It will be important to maintain and expand assistance in key areas, particularly with respect to building democratic institutions and addressing developmental and humanitarian challenges exacerbated by corruption, conflict, natural disaster and other factors.     

The UN considers the situation so dire that it sent a delegation to the DRC to promote the elections.  The country is in danger of falling into civil war with the violence severely impeding the Congolese government and World Health Organization’s efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak. 

Ask your representatives to work for passage of HR 6207, the DRC Democracy and Accountability Act, which was unanimously approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, by asking that it be placed on the House suspension docket.  Ask your Senators to introduce companion legislation to HR 6207 in the Senate. Also ask your members of Congress to promote the authorization and appropriation of funds necessary to enable USAID, the World Food Program, and other US and UN agencies to support free and fair elections in the DRC and to provide vital humanitarian assistance to regions, such as the Kasai, that face food insecurity and potential famine. 

http://www.africanews.com/2018/10/18/hunger-levels-double...

http://www.africanews.com/2018/10/22/drc-beni-residents-s...

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/13/did-kabila-just-bring...

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/10/18/welcome-to-the-first-...

 

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