March 2007 Violence in the Congo:

Reflections of African artists

Cheri-Cherin: "Rat-Race (Course au Pouvoir)". Oil on canvas, 130 x 333,5 cm, 2007.

33 candidates ran in the Congolese presidential election on July 30th, 2006. Frontrunner was President Joseph Kabila (depicted as a rat with a number-1-sign in the above painting). Jean-Pierre Bembas main campaign slogan "One Hundred Percent Congolese" was widely perceived as an attack on the president. Kabila won 44% of the vote and Bemba (the lion in the painting) won 20%. 

Kiesse: "Vers le Congo de Demain". Acrylic on canvas, 83 x 104 cm, 2006.

According to the results of the vote the two - Kabila and Bemba - faced each other in a second round, held on October 29th. Both wanted to take place at  president's seat.

Tresor-Cherin: "Le Culte de la Personnalite". Oil on canvas, 69 x 100 cm, 2007.

Although there was a certain personality cult around Jean-Pierre Bemba (see him above depicted as a lion), the electorial commission announced the official results on November 15th, naming Kabila the winner with 58,05% of the vote. The Supreme Court of the DRC rejected the fraud charges brought by Bemba, and confirmed Kabila as the new elected Congolese President.

Shula: "Calme tendu". Acrylic on canvas, 95 x 110 cm, 2007.

A dispute over Bemba's personal guard led to an outbreak of fighting near Bemba's residence in Kinshasa on March 22nd, 2007. Bemba's guard did not obey a March 15 deadline to register at a military base in order to be incorporated into the military.

Shula: "Violent affrontement du 22 au 23 mars 2007". Acrylic on canvas, 96 x 111 cm, 2007.

In the fighting, a number of people, including both soldiers and civilians, were reported killed. Plundering was a common thing.

Sapinart: "Evenement du 22 au 23.03.07 a Kinshasa RDC". Oil on canvas, 85 x 107 cm, 2007.

Bemba called for a ceasefire and negotiations and took refuge in the South African embassy. 

Alfi Alfa: "La Bataille sanglate de Kinshasa". 90 x 109 cm, 2007.

As fighting continued on March 23rd, it was announced that a warrant for Bemba's arrest had been issued, accusing him for high treson. Bemba blamed the government for the fighting, said it sought to kill him, and said that he would not surrender. Later on the same day, government forces were reported to have regained control of most of the city. According to one estimate, up to 600 people were killed in the fighting.

On April 11th, Bemba was taken to the airport by U.N.MONUC forces and flown out of the country to Portugal, along with his wife and children.

(Information from Wikipedia)

Elections in the Congo 2006
The African dream of a better life

Hope is named Obama

Art of the Congo