Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Joseph Kabila in hot water in S.A

By Gael Masengi

Stand-off between Activists and S.A cops (Photo, GoM)
On Tuesday [October 23th] the South African capital, Pretoria’s diplomatic district was transformed into a scene of clash, shout, screams and “anti-Kabila” chants as Congolese activists stormed the hotel where the meeting between Jacob Zuma and Joseph Kabila was taking place.  

Attending the 8th Session of the South Africa-Democratic Republic of Congo Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria, the ‘Congolese president’ Joseph Kabila had encountered a strongest protest yet from the members of the Congolese community and dissidents residing in Johannesburg and surroundings. By midday the main street leading to the Sefako  Makgatho Guest House [formerly, the presidential guest house] in a discreet suburb of Pretoria was filled by angry protesters who came to “question” the head of state for allegations of his implication with the Rwanda-backed M23 rebellion and confront him for the latest shocking revelation implicating him directly to the murder of a leading human rights activist, Floribert Chebeya of Voice of the Voiceless (VSV, its French initials)and his driver Fidèle Banzana.

murdered activist, Armand Tungulu
The scene quickly turned into a brief scuffle between the cops and activists when the South African police requested the protesters to back-off as they were blocking the road, before you know it things started to get a little out of hand. Armed with placards, sings and posters bearing the images of rapped and slaughtered women in the eastern DRC, the activists were nowhere to compromise with law enforcers, arguing that Kabila might get away should they leave the place but outnumbered by the men-in-blue who started to flock-in, “anti-Kabila” campaigners eventually were driven out of the street but not before attacking the Congolese embassy, which is located about 100 meters in the surroundings and  get exposure they needed from significant number of media, that includes the South African Broadcasting Corporation television.

“Kabila hosted officially by Zuma?!” exclaimed an activist who asked not to be named, “it’s disappointing if a country like South Africa where at least democracy and human rights exist opting to deal with that man” he said, referring to Kabila’s record on human rights as not being satisfying and very well known by everyone, “We should be given a chance to lead our country ourselves, not by people chosen for us by the international community” said Jean Didier, another activist “to me it seems as a curse, my country [DRC] being blessed with all the mineral resources”   he pointed out that there are things that make Kabila an illegitimate president, namely, last year’s elections results were called by international observers as flawed and not credible.

On the other hand the South African President, Jacob Zuma opened the meeting with congratulations to his Congolese counterpart for hosting a “successful” Francophonie summit, “Your historic hosting of this important summit is a demonstration of trust and confidence in you and your country.” Said Zuma “It is just over a year since our last meeting in Lubumbashi where we took important decisions. One of those decisions was South Africa’s commitment to support the government of the DRC to organise the November 2011 elections. We are happy that those elections were successfully conducted in a peaceful environment…” really? “Successful environment?” clearly Mr Zuma is either ill-informed or lying.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Is France losing its influence in Africa?

By Gael Masengi

It came as a surprise to those die-hard supporters of the French language in Gabon when the president, Ali Bongo announced two weeks ago that he is planning to replace French and promote English as the second language in attempt to improve opportunities for its people.

Gabonese president, Ali Bongo and Paul Kagame of Rwanda
President Bongo Odimba made the announcement less than ten days before flying for the 14th Francophonie (French-speaking community) summit held this past week-end in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. His spokesperson told AFP the president coming back from Rwanda, where a similar move has proved successful, has come to realised that the language of Shakespeare and Harry potter as being a ‘necessary working language’. He told reporters Gabon is in need to develop and want to give itself the best opportunities; “When you leave a French-speaking space, if you don’t know English you are almost handicapped.” He added “It’s a question of diversifying our partnerships, ensuring that the people of Gabon are armed and better armed.”   

Being myself a Francophone…well until five years ago, I can confirm to you that, the sentiment of breaking way completely from the French language or axing it is growing rapidly among Francophones, primarily in diaspora, and specifically to those in English-speaking countries with many saying a record of former British colonies either in the continent or outside are thriving economically, have a better political stability and democracy at least exists. In contrast to French-speaking, where they say dictatorship reign, reproach their respective governments for lack of vision and way too irrelevant or disconnected to today’s fast developing world. But others just simply find English-speaking folks liberal life style as the way to live.  

Coinciding with the 25th anniversary [October 15] of the death of who’s known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”, Marxist leader and pan-Africanist, Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso [former French colony], South African-based Congolese activist, prof Pascal Kilolo of University of Johannesburg commented saying: “Françafrique [the infamous France’s relationship with French-speaking Africa] is a clear indication of neo-colonialism which benefit only France and eternal head of states not the people. France has to re-think it policy toward Africa, specifically to its ‘backyards.’” He said “It’s pretty obvious that for years France has supported let alone helped put in power dictators throughout its former colonies in Africa… look around, you will notice in more than five French-speaking countries [In Africa] presidents have been occupying office for at least more than ten years with no plan whatsoever of implementing a true democracy.” the tutor concluded  

Gabon is one of France’s closest allies in the region and important channel  for French influence in the continent, the country is home of millions of Euro from French investment companies though it vows to keep alive the language of Molière but analysts believe English will likely overshadow it and subsequently eradicate and finally replace it completely in years to come. Since he came to power in 2009 after the death of his father, yet parallel to his ideology, Ali Bongo has been advocating strongly for the idea to adopt the English language however the move to English, according to president is all about opening up new prospects for Gabon and its people, he said of his meeting with Rwandan counterpart Paul kagame:
“I am keen on understanding how Rwanda has fast-tracked Vision 2020 targets, how it has managed to develop successful village settlement program and adopted agricultural practices like animal farming that are beneficial to the poor.”  but many argue that Rwanda’s fast growing economy is result of wars it’s helping wage in eastern DR Congo since the current regime came in power eighteen years ago.

Rwanda, a former Belgian colony, joined the commonwealth, an association chiefly composed of former British colonies in 2009.
                                                                                                                       Further report by Daily mail