Impasse in the Congo: What Do the People Think?

© AFP Photo/Desirey Minkoh

© AFP Photo/Desirey Minkoh

The Bureau d’Études, de Recherches, et Consulting International (BERCI) and the Congo Research Group (CRG) at New York University conducted a nationally representative political opinion poll across the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Between May and September 2016, researchers interviewed 7,545 people in face-to-face interviews. Some of our main findings are:

  • The popularity of President Kabila and his ruling coalition has plummeted since the 2011 elections. If elections were held this year, most respondents would vote for Moise Katumbi (33%), followed by Etienne Tshisekedi (18%), President Joseph Kabila (7,8%), and Vital Kamerhe (7,5%).
  • Respondents were skeptical of any challenge to the constitution: 81,4% rejected changing the constitution to allow President Joseph Kabila to run for a third term, and 74,3% said Kabila should leave office when his term ends on December 19, 2016.
  • Those surveyed emphasized the need for a negotiated solution to the current political impasse: 58, 6% said that the opposition and civil society should participate in such a dialogue. Nonetheless, 55% of respondents support candidates who are excluded from the deal finalized on October 18, 2016.
  • Trust has waned in the election commission, but not in elections themselves: Only 46,5% said they trust the electoral commission to hold free and fair elections. Nonetheless, 72,7% said they intended to vote.
  • Most endorsed the creation of a Congolese tribunal to judge war crimes: 76,4% were in favor. Of those, 71,4% approved of foreign judges sitting on the tribunal.
  • The UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO is especially unpopular in the very areas where it has deployed most of its troops: in Nord Kivu (56,7%) and Sud Kivu (50,2%) a preponderance of respondents said MONUSCO should simply leave.
  • Most want elections to happen within the coming year. If elections have to be delayed, 41% said they should be held in 2017 while 13.7% said 2018 or later.
  • The poll revealed a sophisticated Congolese electorate with a good understanding of national politics. Gender, class, education, the urban-rural divide, and religion did not significantly influence answers to most questions.

The methodology for the CRG/Berci poll can be found here.

Download the full report Impasse in Congo: What do the People Think?

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Nov 02, 2016
Jason Stearns
Sub-Saharan Africa