As the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo await the results of the Dec. 30 election and brace for possible violence, the U.S. government and its allies in Africa have a decision to make: Does the choice of the Congolese people matter, or is a messy charade sufficient to endorse business as usual in central Africa’s perpetually troubled giant?
Governance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is too often a matter of form rather than substance.
For many Congolese, the state consistently fails to deliver on its most basic duties—providing security to its citizens, controlling the country’s territory, or delivering the most basic of services. It is entirely possible that the recent elections were intended as an empty gesture as well—a “good enough” exercise to satisfy the international community, quiet the demands of civil society, and shore up elites’ credibility with investors, all without ever genuinely allowing citizens a say in who should hold the levers of state power...
from Foreign Policy - read full text
Ambassador Michelle Gavin served as U.S. Ambassador to Botswana from 2011 to 2014. Ambassador Gavin is a senior fellow for Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She has over twenty years of experience in international affairs in government and non-profit roles.