Uncle Sam Promises $30 Million to Congo for Fair Election

DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLIC-OF-CONGO-ELECTION.jpgDictators around the Middle East and Asia these days are "winning" elections and re-elections with smoke and mirrors.  They are also receiving truckloads of cash and other economic aid from the United States as an incentive to hold fair and democratic elections.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC for short, will be no exception. An estimated 32 million registered voters out of an estimated total population of 77 million, will cast their ballots in the newest presidential election tentatively scheduled for around 2016.
That is when Congo President Joseph Kabila attempts to gain his third consecutive five-year term.
The United States, a world-wide do-gooder when it comes to helping smaller states with their constitutional responsibilities, is asking Kabila to step down because the Congo's constitution, which Kabila himself originally promoted, bars presidents from staying in office for more than 10 years.
Kabila, through spokespersons, says he is in no hurry and has made no decision on running for a third term.  He is in no hurry, of course, because he knows another wheelbarrow of green stuff will be coming his way shortly.
The U.S., through Secretary of State John Kerry, has stated it is willing to put up $30 million to help the Congo government schedule fair elections in 2016 and fight off numerous rebel groups that have plagued the country for more than 25 years.
The $30 million pledge doubles the $12 million the U.S. gave the DRC last year just for trying to stabilize the second largest country in Africa and the 11th largest in the world.
In total economic and military aid last year alone, the U.S. gave the DRC about $210 million, according to White House sources.
Is the money being spent as intended?  No one, either in the U.S. or the Congo, will guarantee that it is 100 percent, because the Congo has perennially been riddled with corruption.
A story that has made the international rounds many times and has yet to be denied in full by former or current Congo government sources, recalls the reign of Mobutu Sese Seko from 1965 to 1997. He had even renamed the country Zaire at that time.
According to numerous sources familiar with Congo government operations in the Mobutu period, when he needed spot cash, Mobutu would ask a relative to go to the bank and take out a million dollars or so. The relative next would go to a family broker friend and ask him to withdraw another five million for Mobutu.
The broker, with Mobutu's authority, would then withdraw $10 million instead of the $5 million that was requested. Mobutu would get his $1 million and the other family members would cut up the remaining $9 million.
Mobutu said at the time he promoted such corruption to prevent political rivals from challenging his control. Of course, that led to an economic collapse in 1996.
According to published sources, Mobutu allegedly stole about $5 billion ($U.S.) while in office for 32 years.
President Kabila established the Commission of Repression of Economic Crimes upon his ascension to power in 2001
The first free multi-party elections in the Congo in 46 years were held July 30, 2006.  Voters went to the polls to elect a new President, federal parliament and provincial parliaments
A run-off election was held Oct. 29 to choose the president as no candidate had obtained more than 50 percent of the vote. Kabila was elected in the second round with 58 percent of the vote.
And the kicker in all this activity at that time?
The international community donated $460 million to fund the 2006 elections and deployed the world's largest UN peacekeeping operation to protect voters from rebels and other anti-government attackers.
Turn the clock forward to 2016.  Same scenario. Same big bucks - going down the drain. 

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