In Congo, Tshisekedi’s Strong Showing Raises Concerns

New York Times investigates whether Étienne Tshisekedi, a 78-year-old career rabble-rouser who is immensely popular in the streets of his country but definitely unpopular inside Western embassies, actually win the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

It’s a long shot, analysts say, but not impossible, though  Congo’s election this week has been so chaotic and often violent, with poll workers slugged in the face and polling places burned to the ground, that it may be difficult to ever know who truly won. Countless ballots have now been reduced to ashes; many others have been tampered with.

On Friday, election observers sounded despondent, saying that the official tallying centers looked like disaster zones, with ballots dumped in the mud and the supposedly sacrosanct tabulation sheets fluttering loose in the wind. 

Still, the early results that have not mysteriously vanished or been destroyed show Mr. Tshisekedi leading handily in Kinshasa, the capital, and drawing many votes nationwide, creating the possibility of an upset against President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled Congo with an increasingly heavy hand for 10 years.

“The results look good so far for Tshisekedi.” said Jason Stearns, a Congo specialist.

Yet, whether a country with a long and bitter history of authoritarian rule actually lets an opposition leader claim the presidency — that’s a whole other matter, Mr. Stearns said.

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If you are interested in the events in Congo, take a look at 'Congo Masquerade' by Theodore Trefon

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