As the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) gears up for its upcoming election on December 20, the incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi faces mounting criticism for unfulfilled promises to uplift impoverished remote areas. Despite the implementation of certain social policies during his initial term, regions like Camp Pay in the Kwilu province continue to grapple with enduring challenges.
In Camp Pay, locals express disappointment and frustration over pledges left unfulfilled. Blaise Kabwengi, a fish vendor, voices dismay at the broken promises surrounding the closure of the Boma port. Despite assurances of reopening and revitalizing activities, the community remains stranded in a state of uncertainty.
Victor Mukala, a farmer, articulates dissatisfaction with President Tshisekedi’s governance, stressing the urgency for tangible actions to address transportation woes and food security challenges. Mukala emphasizes the president’s responsibility to fulfill commitments even as his term nears its end, urging concrete measures for the population’s well-being.
Since assuming office in 2019, President Tshisekedi introduced social policies, such as waiving primary school fees and implementing free maternity care in Kinshasa. These measures aimed to enhance education and healthcare access, particularly for vulnerable groups.
While there’s been a rise in Congolese children attending school, the overall impact on poverty in remote regions remains limited. In rural areas like Camp Pay, promised enhancements appear distant, leaving residents grappling with challenges like inadequate transportation and food shortages.
Despite its mineral wealth, the DRC grapples with significant economic hurdles, including corruption, mismanagement, and conflicts in the eastern regions. The World Bank estimates that roughly two-thirds of the country’s 100 million citizens live on less than $2.15 a day.
President Tshisekedi, aged 60, is seeking reelection for a second term, having initiated flagship social policies like waiving school fees and introducing free maternity care. While more Congolese children are in classrooms, the broader population continues to face entrenched poverty with minimal change.