There is this feeling in the air, making me a little apprehensive, a little excited. It is a nerve-wracking wait, the election results, Congo’s future. With little internet and no texting service since Saturday (Government’s policy to ‘limit disorder’), we have been half-cut off from the outside world since two weeks. Congo, I hope you do emerge stronger.
Photography was a small part of the work I did last week, but possibly one of the most enjoyable. For the first time since I first came here, it has been easy to take pictures. Raising my camera was not met by aggressive reactions of people in the frame. I was even asked to take a few portraits of people voting. The enthusiasm was visible, especially in Goma, less in Masisi where several people told us they had been intimidated or plainly forced to vote for “a certain candidate”.
Some of my pictures were published here and here. Our bi-monthly radio show Face à la Justice was on the elections last week and is available here (in French). If you want to hear what Goma post-elections is like, you can listen to my radio report here (in French). It’s been a very busy week but as I said to a Congolese colleague today “Si on travaille pas maintenant, on travaille quand?”
The counting of votes did not start until late at night, many political parties’ witnesses had not eaten at all that day and still staid up all night. I was impressed by the dedication of everyone involved. For having witnessed counting of the votes in French elections, I can say it was done very professionally in the bureau I was in Goma.
I can’t resist posting this picture as well, possibly the cutest observer all over the country!
Today is the last day of the electoral campaign. On Monday, Congolese will go to the poll to elect their new president and MPs. Goma has been very animated as all parties have been out in the street campaigning (i.e. partying). The roads were packed this morning, as I was going to get the accreditations for the Uhaki News journalists (We still don’t have them, our file was lost in the mess that the CENI office in Goma is, hopefully we’ll get them today).
For more details about the elections and what to expect, I wrote this article yesterday.