|06KINSHASA1256||2006-08-09 11:31:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Kinshasa|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L KINSHASA 001256
1. (C) Summary: Ambassador and U.S. Congressman Donald
Payne met with Vice President (and presidential candidate)
Azarias Ruberwa on August 2. During the meeting, Ruberwa
repeated his allegations of "widespread fraud" and promised
to pursue his complaints through the appropriate legal
channels. End summary.
2. (C) This first of Rep. Payne's four meetings with
presidential candidates (septels) was cordial and lengthy,
with both sides expressing initial satisfaction with the high
rate of voter turnout and the largely peaceful voting
process. The centerpiece of the conversation, however, was
Ruberwa's clear dissatisfaction with preliminary counts that
indicated he fared worse at the polls than he had
anticipated. Ruberwa seemed convinced that the only
explanation for his poor showing was fraud. His specific
complaints echoed those detailed in his formal statement
(reftel), including inappropriate coercion of illiterate
voters; cases of Independent Electoral Commission (CEI)
workers deliberately spoiling ballots of those whose choices
they opposed; assault and threats by FDLR fighters against
supporters of certain candidates; ballot boxes stuffed by
political party operatives; and outright bribery by
candidates. Ruberwa said he will document his complaints and
pursue them through the legal process. He added that if his
complaints were found to be legitimate, the CEI would be
obliged to "reopen voting."
3. (C) Ruberwa was clearly torn between his desire to
vindicate his own claims of fraud and his apparently sincere
concern for the future of the DRC. In response to Rep.
Payne's urging that Ruberwa not encourage his followers to
discredit the system via premature or unfounded allegations,
Ruberwa reiterated that his primary concern was the
well-being of the DRC and its long-suffering people. He
stated that "what is important is the country -- it is
4. (C) Ruberwa conceded that a role existed in the DRC's
democracy even for those who did not win in the elections,
adding that he and his party would continue to work to
strengthen democracy in the DRC. He emphasized that the
elections should not, however, be winner-takes-all contests.
Ruberwa said his hope is that the international community
will remain involved in helping to develop democratic
institutions, rule of law, and real independence for the
5. (C) Comment. Ruberwa is reluctant to acknowledge the
fact that he has not won the presidential election -- a
reality that has seemed obvious to most observers for months.
In fact, he seems genuinely surprised to have done so
poorly, perhaps because of his apparently sincere belief in
his ideals and his own commitment to the future of the DRC.
Despite his claims of widespread fraud in the East, Ruberwa
needs to accept that even if some of his allegations are
proven, it will not change his poor performance at the polls.
If he is going to play a constructive role in the
post-transition DRC, he needs to accept his loss. If he does
not, he risks not only further marginalizing himself but also
being perceived as a spoiler. End comment.
6. (U) Congressman Payne did not have an opportunity to
clear on this cable.