RACHEL: I like the American Government. I like it because they give the candidates the opportunity to go to the media and explain the program to the people that they expect to rule. That’s a good thing. But in most of Africa, they don’t do that. Our leadership, they don’t have respect for their people. And they don’t even respect the rules, you know? The government there is irresponsible, and they take advantage of their citizens. Joseph Kabila—he’s trying to change the Constitution so he can remain president. The elections are supposed to happen this December 19, but in Africa in general, the presidents get into power, and they don’t want to leave. Instead, they try to consolidate their power. He’s already done his two allowed terms—he’s at the end of his mandate, and he’s trying to put off the elections until 2018. But the population is determined. They are trying to hold him to this December. They’re going to take to the streets, to get him out of power. The possibility is that he’s going to get the army to kill the people who are in the streets— that’s the worry—but the people are determined. If he did somehow allow this election
to take place peacefully and leave his position of power, that would be the first time, because it’s always a coup d’état. It’s always violent.
(Images of election protests and people on stretchers afterwards.)
SUBOMI: My relatives tell me people are dying in the streets—dying for the right to vote, to choose a better leader. Many are afraid. They stay in their houses and don’t leave. This should not be happening.
ANIMA: I think things in Africa could change. Like, if the United Nations put pressure on those kinds of presidents, things can change. We need more pressure coming from outside. United Nation, the United States, real countries for democracy. If they put pressure on those presidents, things could change.
This scene originally appeared in Congolese Immigrant Stories, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois.