By Kathryn Nash, Foreign Affairs Officer, Bureau of Conflict & Stabilization Operations
On November 28, 2011, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a country that has suffered tremendous instability and violence in the last two decades, held its first elections completely organized by the Congolese government since the end of the Mobutu era. This represented both a milestone and a challenge for the country.
As the elections approached, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa reached out to the new Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) to help better analyze conflict dynamics in key regions and develop and implement an election observation mission and reporting plan.
In the days following the elections, it became evident that serious problems were developing in the centers that compiled the votes. The United States used information from observer teams to inform its understanding as to how the electoral process was unfolding and to formulate its post-election response.
Thanks to its collaboration with CSO, the U.S. Embassy was the only diplomatic mission in the DRC to have had information provided directly by staff at field sites, which enabled it to provide its findings to other diplomatic missions in Kinshasa, none of which had a similar countrywide reach or understanding of what had transpired. The information gathered will also inform future policy and programmatic interventions, supporting democratic consolidation in the DRC and the aspirations of its people.
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