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Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, November 2011 Credits: Worms/Caritas

Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, November 2011
Credits: Worms/Caritas

Various cases of violence have been reported on the sidelines of the double presidential and general elections held in the DRC on 28 November. The Congolese people are holding their breath ahead of announcement of the presidential election results, which should be made on Tuesday 6 December by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Caritas Internationalis delegation, which is staying in Kinshasa, was informed that a 20-year-old man, called Léandre, was shot dead while observing the posting of initial results at a polling station near his home. The incident took place in the Banunu neighbourhood, in the municipality of Matete, at 9:30pm on Monday. The delegation saw the young man’s body and met his family. His father asked us to report his account. (See the account of the young man’s father below)

“If the violence escalates on announcement of the results, we will be ready to respond to the needs of the civilian population,” said Caritas Congo’s leadership.

Caritas Congo has drawn up a post-electoral contingency plan so that the Caritas network can become immediately operational in the event of an emergency.

This plan was drawn up in collaboration with the heads of the DRC’s diocesan Caritas at a meeting held in Goma at the beginning of November. It aims to respond to the needs of 4,000 displaced families. The selected types of intervention include provision of temporary shelters and food items, setting up of markets for non-food items and protection of the population.

In the areas targeted by the intervention, the contingency plan also envisages supplying 8 general hospitals and 15 health centres with medicines, medical equipment, reagents for laboratories and nutritional supplements for 16,000 children.

In the city of Kinshasa, the WFP (World Food Programme) has made Caritas Congo its main local partner for the distribution of food aid in the event of a post-electoral crisis. Recognising Caritas Congo’s knowledge and experience in the field, the WFP is relying on the organisation to ensure distribution of 750 tonnes of food items to 68,000 people, if necessary.

Caritas Internationalis hopes that the aftermath of the electoral process will unfold in a peaceful atmosphere in which the security of the civilian population is respected. However, if things turn out otherwise, Caritas Internationalis has reminded Confederation members that its national member in the Democratic Republic of Congo is ready to intervene.

Léandre’s father has asked us to report his account of the incident.
Reported on 29 November 2011

“I came home at 7pm. My wife had already gone to bed. I checked to see if the children had come home, but I didn’t see Léandre, so I asked where he was. His brothers and sisters told me he’d gone out with his friends.

My wife phoned me at 9pm. She didn’t know I was already at home. I asked her where Léandre was. She told me she didn’t know. When she went up to bed, he was in the house with our other children.

I asked her to go to the corner of the street to see if he was there. She came back and said no. I got dressed so I could have a look around the neighbourhood. The children had instructions to be back home by 9pm at the latest.

I couldn’t find him. As I was arriving back home, two of his friends came running after me. Father, father, Léandre has been shot, they said.

I couldn’t believe it. Shot? I asked myself. Then I wanted to know if he’d been up to some kind of mischief. His two friends said no. He’d been celebrating the posting of the results of the presidential election at the nearby polling station with some other people. Then a car drew up carrying men wearing police uniforms, they told me. The men started shooting in the air to disperse the group.

As the group dispersed, the car approached them and then one of the men shot my son in the back. His friends also told me the car drove by again a few moments later. Then they cried out that Léandre was dead, that they’d killed him. After that, the armed men sped off in their vehicle.

I ran to find my son. He was lying on the ground, 200 or 300 metres from the house. I held him in my arms. I went to a nearby clinic, but they told me to go to a larger medical centre. By the time we got to the medical centre, my son was already dead. He was 20 years old.”