Media Contact:Laura Blank
LUBUMBASHI, Congo (29 November 2011) — As officials extend the elections for a second day in Congo, World Vision says these elections are a "defining moment" for the future of a country struggling to find peace.
“The success or failure of these elections will determine the future of DR Congo for many years," said Robert Kisyula, the national director for World Vision in DR Congo. "A successful election could begin to put Congo on a path of recovery following many years of war and poor governance. But failure could push the country back into the state of chaos that has characterized Congo for so many years."
Meanwhile, reports of violence and unrest appeared throughout the country. One World Vision staffer in Lubumbashi reported seeing ballot papers burning after two vehicles carrying ballot papers to polling stations were set ablaze. The election's campaign period has been characterized by tension and violent unrest. Several people have been killed in the last week, including a local member of parliament.
In an attempt to avoid potential conflict, the campaign period ended Friday following the cancellation of four planned political rallies for the main presidential candidates in Kinshasa. The rallies were scheduled to be held on the same day and in close proximity to each other. Once the voting ends, final results are expected to be announced on December 6. The swearing-in of the new president will take place on December 20.
Christians throughout the country have been holding prayer sessions for peaceful elections. On Saturday, while attending one prayer meeting in Lubumbashi, Kisyula said: "We have 11 presidential candidates, and only one person will become the president. We have a record-breaking 19,497 parliamentary candidates, and only 500 will be elected as MPs. It’s likely that your candidate will not be elected. So, we will need tolerance to accept the winners as our next leaders."
World Vision has been working in DRC since 1958 through both its relief and development projects. The organization currently serves nearly 1.6 million people through its emergency assistance to children and their families in conflict-affected areas of the country. World Vision also operates 25 long-term development programs, focusing on water and sanitation, infrastructure, health, education, HIV and AIDS, food security, and child protection..
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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit www.worldvision.org/press.