Friday, 25 October 2013

Kabila Gives Congo’s Fortune To The Dead And Starves The Living

Kabila gives Congo’s fortune to the dead and starves the living

Former Prime Minister Tshombe Moise agreed to compensate Belgium with much of Congo’s perceived riches, despite King Leopold slicing off hands of countless Congolese during decades of terror (Photo: internet)

 In the much anticipated speech delivered to the nation on October 23 this year, DR Congo’s President Joseph Kabila announced that the remains of two former leaders will be returned for another burial.

The announcement has caused consternation across DRC from the millions who lived to see end of an era of brutal disregard for life in what was then Zaire.

Kabila said remains of Mobutu Sese Seko will be moved from Morocco – ending about a decade of humiliation for the man who brought Congo the nightmare it’s facing. The other is independence era Prime Minister Moise Tshombe who was buried in the Etterbeek cemetery near Brussels in Belgium.

Perhaps what many Congolese do not know is that Kabila signed a deal with the family of Mobutu and many of his former generals who plundered Congo and have been using those spoils to fuel the imminent break up.

In the case of Tshombe, Kabila had to give in to Tshombe’s ethnic group, the powerful Lunda who have dominated Katanga province politics and mineral-based economy for as long as history can remember.

Kabila wants their support to keep power, at a time when there is growing drum-beats for him to step down before the next election. Kabila would prefer to reward the dead and leave the living starving.

The moment Kabila made the surprise announcement, social media was flooding with bitter reviews of the decision; many say was a miscalculation that will reopen old wounds left by Tshombe and Mobutu.

The Congolese blogosphere is on rampage; natives from the South, east and west of DRC had enough of Mobutu, just as many did with Tshombe’s brief reign.

In the east, Mobutu’s reign left millions without the prospect of ever being recognized as natives of Congo. Mobutu took advantage of public sentiment and turned on the Banyamulenge, a dominant group in the region.

In 1981, Mobutu passed a law that emphasized ancestry over residence as the main basis of citizenship in the Congo.

This law was the first piece of legislation that was clearly created in part to begin the conversation of legally revoking the Banyamulenge of their citizenship. All Banyamulenge were banned from running for any type of government office due to what was described then as their ‘dubious citizenship ’.

He (Mobutu) continued to manipulate the citizenship rights and supposedly Tutsi ethnicity of the Banyamulenge until the end of his rule in 1997 when they rose up.

The DR Congo is home to more than 52 militia groups, and the count is still going on. Many of these groups are ordinary villagers protecting themselves from rampaging mass killers. The biggest number of auto-defense groups in eastern Congo is protective shield against FDLR genocide militia.

Today, there is an estimated 2.6million Congolese living in camps inside DRC or in neighboring countries including Rwanda and yet Kabila could not shy away from leaving out those outside, and announced that there will be new government programs for the internally displaced.

Kabila gives Congo’s fortune to the dead

The Congolese have lived in Rwanda for years and President Kabila does not want them back home. No matter how many starve, it is perfectly OK for the Congolese leader to pay out a fortune to the dead Mobutu and Tshombe (Photo: Oxfam)  

If Kabila was a medical doctor, then he clearly has no idea the kind of illness he trying to treat. With Congo’s current tragedy, how on earth can you pay up millions to appease two families when more than 95% of your country’s children are either on death bed, don’t attend school, risk being raped and recruited by militias, or do not have a chance of finding the next meal. That only happens in Kabila’s world!

When you speak to any Congolese, they will tell you their country is rich in natural resources; but that is where it all ends because they have never had a test of the assumed wealth, save for the well-connected.

Painfully enough, many have no idea it was Tshombe as premier who signed off all Congo’s “wealth” to then Belgian Governor General Ryckmans.

Behind closed doors, Tshombe agreed to pay Congo’s “debt owed” to Belgium for the “investments” established in Congo by the Belgians. What an insult it was to the Congolese! Without Congo, Belgium would be no different from many parts of DRC.

Without the hands of Congolese cut off by King Leopold’s army of exploiters, Belgium would be Stone Age state.

Breton wood Figures show that Mobutu accumulated a public external debt of $14 billion. At the same time, Mobutu and his associates extracted wealth from the country. By 1990, real capital from Zaire amounted to $12 billion.

With imputed interest earnings, the accumulated stock of Zairian capital was nearly $18 billion. In other words, Mobutu left more debt than what the entire DRC was worth! Mobutu saved more than 5billion for himself.

In Kabila’s world however, it is not the 90,000 plus refugees living in squalid conditions that matter, or the tens of thousands of others in neighbouring countries. With the stroke of a pen in the comfort of his multi-million presidential palaces, Kabila has condemned the millions and prolonged the suffering of the Congolese hungry, diseased, homeless and stateless.

If Kabila is the statesman he would like his people to falsely believe, he should apply the same courage to open the doors to Congolese languishing in jail in western capitals or have sought protection from regional neighbours.

If Kabila wants reconciliation, he should convince his mouthy entourage to their faces that Jean Pierre Bemba, Laurent Nkunda, Thomas Lubanga and Étienne Tshisekedi, also deserve a place at the high table.

Kabila Gives Congo’s Fortune To The Dead And Starves The Living


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