The public discussion in Democratic Republic of Congo right now is very much focusing on elections. Every day we can read articles and listen to debates about possible ammendments to the constitution. Will the president accept to step down? Will basic democratic principles be respected? Will people be able to vote for the change they wish to see in their country? At the moment, this is not at all clear.
What is development if people cannot chose what way to go? What are the prospects for peace if a majority of society members are not listened to? What are the chances for justice if leaders are not held accountable? What is wealth worth if most people live in desperate poverty?
Armed conflict continues in eastern DRC, with grave violations of the civilian population as a consequence. Even though women are systematically targeted and brutally affected by the conflict they are to a large extent left out of decision-making fora and peace-building efforts. Human rights activists, journalists and opposition have reason to fear threats and violence.
Today I will travel to my closest Swedish embassy in a neighbouring country to vote in our general elections. I can vote and I know that my voice will count. I have the possibility to shape the future of my country. I never valued this possibility as much as I do here.