Over the past week, it was hard to find an article published in a major international press outlet not looking at the build-up to today’s presidential elections through the lens of fear and/of violence. With the exception of a few, most foreign journalists didn’t make it outside of Kinshasa (citing logistical problems). People did get killed in the Congolese capital on Saturday, and in Lubumbashi today, but the way this violence creeped into the international headlines clouds the calm and smoothness of the election process in other parts of the countries, as reported by Congolese citizen journalists on their blogs, in their local papers, or on their Facebook pages. Congo is more than two cities. Other journalists tackled it from afar: The Financial Times, for example, is reporting the #DRC elections from Nairobi? That’s 2 days driving to Kinshasa.

For reports by local journalists outside Kinshasa, read Now AfriCAN (North Kivu), Local Voices (Bunyakiri, South Kivu), Mutaani FM (also in Kivu), Radio Okapi (MONUSCO’s website and radio channel) and Le Congo. (If you want images and reports from Kinshasa other than the foreign ones, there is Lingala Facile.) And when the votes have been counted by the end of the week, refocus on what’s happening outside the Congolese political theatre. Change won’t come from the government. Most Congolese realized a long time ago. Ask the rapper Alesh. In the video and song below he calls out the country’s politicians “qui concoctent dans le noir” [plotting in the shadows] and urges his fellow countrymen (“all heirs to Patrice Lumumba”) to wake up: “Instead of growing old with analysis, I dare to obstruct those who dream of paralyzing [Congo].”

Further Reading

Drugs and police in Mathare

Drug use among young people in Nairobi’s slums is on the rise. Youth also face arbitrary arrests by the police, resulting in jail time which turns them into hardcore criminals in a vicious cycle.

Sankara is not dead

Thomas Sankara has emerged as both a lesson on the uncertainties of revolutionary change and the possibilities for people-centered development for the present and future.