An opinion poll conducted in January and February offered a window into the mindset of voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo as they headed into another year of political uncertainty. Perhaps surprisingly, the news wasn’t entirely grim.
While 82 percent of respondents said they believed the country was heading in the wrong direction, and 80 percent reported having a negative opinion of President Joseph Kabila, a majority nevertheless expressed faith that things would improve. In fact, nearly two-thirds of Congolese felt “very optimistic” about the future of the country over the next five years—a figure that rose to 82 percent when respondents were asked specifically about their own lives.
According to the Congo Research Group at New York University, which conducted the poll along with the Congolese firm BERCI, the data “suggests that Congolese believe they have the power to bring about change.” If recent events are any indication, there is at least an outside chance they will soon be given the opportunity to do just that.