Lancet Editorial Discusses Politicization Of DRC’s Ebola Response
The Lancet: Was DR Congo’s Ebola virus outbreak used as a political tool?
“From its very start, the people of DR Congo have perceived the Ebola response as politicized. … It is therefore a pity that their fears, at least in part, were proven to be justified. On Dec 26, 2018, DR Congo’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) invoked concerns about the Ebola outbreak and terrorism to postpone the elections in three areas in North Kivu … until March. 1.2 million people — many of whom were likely to vote for the opposition leader, Martin Fayulu — were disenfranchised in the presidential election on Dec 30, 2018. … That the Ebola outbreak was used to control the electoral power of those likely to oppose Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary (the candidate who incumbent president Joseph Kabila chose as a successor) shows just how important these elections are. The consequences of CENI’s announcement on the Ebola response are immeasurable, not only for its effect on epidemic control but also in terms of trust lost. These elections were celebrated as an important step towards a more democratic process and populous sovereignty. That this was jeopardized by leveraging the very health concerns that the Congolese people need the government to alleviate is deeply regrettable. DR Congo’s regional and international partners will need to maintain pressure to ensure the people’s right to democracy and health are respected” (1/12).