Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Martyrs Day: Telema With Congolese Youth

January 4th is a seminal day in Congo’s history, which serves as a national holiday. On January 4, 1959, ordinary Congolese stood in defiance of Belgian colonialism demanding independence. Congolese in Kinshasa unleashed a spontaneous uprising out of frustration with the repressive Belgian colonial regime. In his critically acclaimed work "Congo: From Leopold to Kabila," Dr Georges Nzongola Ntalaja said the march on January 4, 1959 "sounded the death knell of Belgian Colonialism in the Congo." The unifying chant of the marchers was "Indépendance Immediate" or "Independence Now" in English. The uprising represented the radicalization of the struggle for independence. It frightened not only the Belgian authorities but also the Congolese elites know as évolués.

Nine days later on January 13, 1959 both the King of Belgium and the Belgium government announced that in due time Belgium would grant Congo full independence. In the conscience of the nation, the day represents the historic point of departure for the independence of the Congo from Belgian colonialism.

The courageous stance by that generation of Congolese served as a key catalyst for Congo’s independence in 1960. Since the 1960s Congolese have celebrated and commemorated that generation’s actions and named the day “la journée des martyrs de l’indépendance,” or in English, independence Martyrs Day. Without a doubt, Congolese of that era made enormous sacrifices for freedom and independence.

Congolese continue to make tremendous sacrifice for total independence and liberation from tyranny. The youth have been at the forefront of this fight. During the past couple years, Congolese youth have paid the dearest price in confronting the tyrannical regime of president Joseph Kabila. The Kabila regime aims to remain in power in spite of the Constitution that says he should have stepped down on December 19, 2016. The regime has killed, maimed, jailed and driven into exile young Congolese who have stood up to his regime. During demonstrations on September 19 and 20, 2016, the regime killed 50, injured 107 and jailed 406. Again on December 20, 2016, the regime killed 34, injured dozens and jailed hundreds. In spite of the agreement struck between the political class and the Kabila regime, the youth continue to stand firm in demanding the departure of Kabila and the respect of the will of the overwhelming majority of Congolese.

Courageous Congolese continue to make enormous sacrifices for a better future for the sons and daughters of the Congo? Under the banner of the #Telema movement, youth have risen to resist tyranny, defend the country's constitution and advance the nascent democratic gains. The global community should stand in support and solidarity with the people of the Congo as they pursue peace, justice and human dignity.

Join the global movement in support of a peaceful and just Congo by visiting Telema.org!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Global and Inclusive Political Agreement

The main elements of the Global and Inclusive Political Agreement

1. Joseph Kabila will remain President until the inauguration of a new President
2. Presidential, legislative and provincial elections will be held in December 2017
3. The current Parliament will remain in place as is.
4. A government of national unity will be established.
5. Prime Minister post goes to the opposition.
6. Kabila's majority cannot call for a referendum
7. Kabila's majority cannot revise the Constitution
8. Étienne Tshisekedi will manage A National Transition Council or Follow-up Committee to monitor the implementation of the agreement
9. Kabila's presidential majority will retain full management of provincial governments
10. The cases of Moises Katumbi and Jean-Claude Muyambo will be managed by the CENCO
11. The Catholic Bishops will write to the head of state to ask for a pardon in favor of Diomi Ndongala.
12. Both opposition and majority will take part in the reorganization of the National Independent Electoral Commission
13. Select individuals (Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi, Roger Lumbala, Floribert Anzuluni) who are in exile can return to the country without being pursued by the state

Sunday, July 10, 2016

UN Resolution 2277 and Congo's Political Impasse

On March 30, 2016, The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2277 (2016) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. The resolution addressed a wide range of issues regarding the relationship between the UN and the Congolese government, particularly as it relates to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or MONUSCO. The resolution renewed the mandate of  the UN peace keeping mission in the Congo. However, the political section of the resolution has taken center stage in the increasing political and constitutional crisis unfolding in the DRC. Both the government and the opposition have hinged the vaunted dialogue on the political elements of the resolution. Both sides have latched on to elements of the resolution that serves them. Find below the articles of the resolution that addresses the political situation in the DRC:

Political Situation
“7.   Calls on the Government of the DRC and its national partners, including the CENI, to ensure a transparent and credible electoral process, in fulfilment of their primary responsibility to create propitious conditions for the forthcoming elections, including prioritization of those conditions necessary for the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for November 2016 in accordance with the Constitution;

“8.   Urges the Government as well as all relevant parties to ensure an environment conducive to a free, fair, credible, inclusive, transparent, peaceful and timely electoral process, in accordance with the Congolese Constitution, which includes free and constructive political debate, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly, equitable access to media including State media, safety and freedom of movement for all candidates, as well as for election observers and witnesses, journalists, human rights defenders and actors from civil society including women;

“9.   Calls for the publication of a revised comprehensive electoral calendar for the full electoral cycle by the CENI and calls on the Government of the DRC to put swiftly in place an adequate electoral budget and an electoral code of conduct, and conduct without delay a credible update of the electoral register, to ensure the successful and timely holding of elections, in particular presidential and legislative elections on November 2016, in accordance with the Constitution, while respecting the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and further calls upon all stakeholders, to engage into an open and inclusive political dialogue over the holding of presidential elections, in accordance with the Constitution;

“10.  Underlines the importance of ‎credible dialogue to ensure peaceful and credible presidential and legislative elections, in line with the Constitution, expresses support for the decision taken by the AU to undertake consultations on this dialogue, urges all national stakeholders to extend cooperation to the AU in this regard, and requests the Secretary-General to provide political support to these efforts consistent with this resolution, including through his good offices;

Source: http://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12307.doc.htm

Click here for other resolutions from the UN, African Union, US, UK, African Union and others.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Commemorating the March for Peace

On today, February 16, 2016, Congolese commemorated the seminal "Peaceful March of Christians," with a shut down of cities (Ville Morte in French) throughout the country in protest of President Joseph Kabila's attempt to remain in power in contravention to the Congo's constitution. The Democratic Republic of Congo's constitution allows the President to serve only two five-year terms. Kabila served his first term from 2006 - 2011 and his second five-year term, which began in 2011 ends on December 19, 2016. However, President Kabila has repeatedly demonstrated through his actions and the words and actions of his surrogates that he aims to remain in power in spite of the dictates of the constitution. In response, the Congolese people have organized to assure that Kabila respects the constitution. Civil society and opposition forces issued a call for a "Ville Morte" and requested that people remain at home and abstain from commercial and other normal activities. By and large the Congolese population in several key cities throughout the country responded to the call and stayed home, especially in the nation's capital leaving the streets deserted for most of the day. The people have certainly sent a message to regime that they want the country's constitution respected and are willing to engage in civil disobedience if necessary to hold Kabila and his government accountable to the law of the land.



On February 16, 1992, Congolese Christians responded to a call by the Catholic Church to protest peacefully and demand the reopening of the Sovereign National Conference (Conference National Souveraine - CNS in French). The conference was a democratic forum composed of delegates who represented all layers of the society in the Congo (Zaire at the time) from members of civil society, political parties, the military, the diaspora, as well as the president himself (Mobutu Se Seko). This conference was tasked with interrogating the country’s history and finding a way to deal with the multidimensional national crisis (political, economic, social, cultural, and moral) that the country was facing in 1990.

On January 19, 1992, then-Mobutu-appointed prime minister Nguza Karl-I-Bond announced the suspension of the Sovereign National Conference on radio and television. This decision to suspend the CNS angered many Congolese who had high hopes that this democratic process would help the country extricate itself from dictatorial rule. The Catholic Church, which at the time distanced itself from Mobutu's regime and became more vocal about Mobutu's human rights abuse, made a call to all Christians and civil society groups for a massive demonstration to reopen the Sovereign National Conference. Thousands of marchers from all backgrounds converged on the Tata Raphaël stadium. Police and soldiers opened fire on the marchers before they could reach their destination, killing more than forty people. This incident, which caused international outcry as news began to enter the western world, forced the government to reinstate the CNS in April 1991 and served as a pivotal point in Congo's struggle toward democratization.

In his book "The History of the Congo," Dr Didier Gondola revisits this important date and give us the reason why Christians in the Congo took to the streets. He says: "In early 1992, Mobutu decided to disband the Sovereign National Conference (Conference Nationale Souveraine - CNS), an assembly whose main task was to create a new constitution and organize democratic elections. In response to this decision, strong opposition mounted among Kinshasa's independent churches. On February 16, 1992, thousands of church members took their grievances to the streets of the capital in what was dubbed by its organizers as the "March of Hope" (Marche de l'Espoir). Marchers held banners demanding the reopening of the CNS, and they chanted songs against violence and dictatorship. The peaceful march ended in a bloodbath when the army intervened and gunned down dozens of demonstrators. The March of Hope has since been held up as a major turning point in the relations between the church and state. It was also an event that precipitated the end of Mobutu's regime."

Monday, January 04, 2016

Martyrs Day: Congolese Youth Stand Up #Telema

January 4th is a seminal day in Congo’s history, which serves as a national holiday. On January 4, 1959, ordinary Congolese stood in defiance of Belgian colonialism demanding independence. Congolese in Kinshasa unleashed a spontaneous uprising out of frustration with the repressive Belgian colonial regime. In his critically acclaimed work "Congo: From Leopold to Kabila," Dr Georges Nzongola Ntalaja said the march on January 4, 1959 "sounded the death knell of Belgian Colonialism in the Congo." The unifying chant of the marchers was "Indépendance Immediate" or "Independence Now" in English. The uprising represented the radicalization of the struggle for independence. It frightened not only the Belgian authorities but also the Congolese elites know as évolués.

Nine days later on January 13, 1959 both the King of Belgium and the Belgium government announced that in due time Belgium would grant Congo full independence. In the conscience of the nation, the day represents the historic point of departure for the independence of the Congo from Belgian colonialism.

The courageous stance by that generation of Congolese served as a key catalyst for Congo’s independence in 1960. Since the 1960s Congolese have celebrated and commemorated that generation’s actions and named the day “la journée des martyrs de l’indépendance,” or in English, independence Martyrs Day. Without a doubt, Congolese of that era made enormous sacrifices for freedom and independence.

Congolese continue to make tremendous sacrifice for total independence and liberation from tyranny. The youth have been at the forefront of this fight. During 2015, Congolese youth paid the dearest price in confronting the tyrannical regime of president Joseph Kabila. The Kabila regime is seeking to remain in power against the will of the Congolese people and has demonstrated its willingness to kill, jail, disappear and suppress those who have called for the country's constitution to be respected. Below are some of the most egregious examples of the repressive actions of the Kabila regime against the youth of the Congo in 2015:

DRC: Deadly Crack Down on Protests
Human Rights Watch

Congo's Telema Protests
The Guardian

FILIMBI Youth Arrested by DRC Government
BBC News

Congolese Rapper and Musician Radek Supreme Arrested by Kabila Regime
Friends of the Congo

Youth Activist, Jean Marie Kalonji Kidnapped by Kabila Regime
Radio France International

Courageous Congolese continue to make enormous sacrifices for a better future for the sons and daughters of the Congo? Under the banner of the #Telema movement, youth have risen to resist tyranny, defend the country's constitution and advance the nascent democratic gains. The global community should stand in support and solidarity with the people of the Congo as they pursue peace, justice and human dignity.

Join the global movement in support of a peaceful and just Congo by visiting Telema.org!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Libérez Jean Marie Kalonji

Libérez Jean Marie Kalonji
Par Kambale Musavuli
Porte-Parole de Friends of the Congo (Les Amis du Congo)

Mardi, le 15 Décembre 2015, le jeune activiste Jean Marie Emmanuel Le Roi Kalonji Ngbongolo (connu aussi sur le nom de Jean Marie Kalonji) a été kidnappé en plein jour par des hommes en tenue civile et brandissant des revolvers près de la Gare Centrale de Kinshasa en République démocratique du Congo. Ces hommes l’ont brutalisé et l’ont fait entrer dans une jeep Pathfinder bleu-sombre.

Sa famille était très inquiète à propos de son sort et bien-être. Sa location a été inconnue pendant plus d’une semaine. Le mardi 22 décembre, il a été trouvé dans une cellule de détention de l’Agence Nationale de Renseignements (ANR). Les agents de cette agence ont organisé un « examen de chefs d’accusation » où ils ont accusé que Mr. Kalonij sur Facebook était opposé contre le Dialogue national organisé par Joseph Kabila parce que le dialogue « met en cause la constitution de notre pays. »

Les agents ANR disent que ses activités avec les étudiants des universités ont été suivies depuis un certain temps et qu’ils étaient inquiets à propos de la proximité de ses relations avec le politicien de l’opposition congolaise Martin Faylulu. L’ANR a aussi ajouté qu’il semble que Jean Marie soit également proche d’un groupe de jeunes congolais à Goma ainsi qu’avec des groupes extérieurs au Congo travaillant pour le changement au sein de la société congolaise.

Jean Marie Kalonji est un activiste des Droits de l’homme de 29 ans, vivant à Kinshasa RDC. Il est détenteur d’un diplôme en droit international de l’Université libre de Kinshasa (ULK). Il est le coordinateur de Quatrième voix, une organisation de la société civile basée à Kinshasa. Il a organisé et mobilisé la jeunesse congolaise afin qu’elle comprenne son rôle et sa responsabilité en tant que citoyen en résolvant les questions locales du sanitaire publique à la politique électorale.

L’enlèvement de Jean Marie est le dernier parmi un nombre d’arrestation arbitraires effectuées de plus en plus par le régime de Kabila. Plusieurs jeunes congolais sont incarcérés sans charge pendant des mois puis torturée, comme ceci a été le cas avec l’artiste Hip hop Radek Supreme qui a été libéré la semaine dernière pour des raisons médicales et a porté plainte au parquet général pour torture enlèvement, séquestration et traitement inhumain à charge de l’ANR. Comme la famille de Jean Marie met en œuvre les moyens légaux pour obtenir sa libération, ils sont aussi sujets aux harassements et aux menaces provenant du régime Kabila.

Joignez-nous en exigeant la libération et la prise en compte de Jean-Marie Kalonji, Fred Bauma, Yves Makwambala et de tous las autres prisonniers politiques. Cliquer ici pour agir!

Pour plus d’information sur le mouvement de la jeunesse congolaise, visitez : http://telema.org.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Free Jean Marie Kalonji

Free Jean Marie Kalonji
By
Kambale Musavuli
Spokesperson, FOTC

On Tuesday, December 15, 2015, young Congolese activist Jean Marie Emmanuel Le Roi Kalonji Ngbongolo (known as Jean Marie Kalonji) was kidnapped in broad daylight by armed men in plain clothes brandishing pistols near Gare Centrale (main train station) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These men brutalized him and forced him into a dark blue, pathfinder jeep.

Jean Marie's family has been very concerned about his whereabouts and well being.  His location was not known for more than a week. On Tuesday, December 22nd, he was found in a holding cell at Congo’s National Intelligence Agency office (Agence Nationale de Renseignements - ANR). The agents in the office held a "Hearing of the Charges" session where they claimed that Mr. Kalonji posted on Facebook that he is against the national dialogue organized by president Joseph Kabila because it puts Congo’s constitution at risk.

The ANR agents said that his activities with college students have been monitored for quite a while and that they were concerned about his close association with Congolese opposition politician Martin Fayulu. The ANR also added that it appears that Jean-Marie was close to Congolese youth groups in Goma as well as groups outside of the Congo working for change within Congolese civil society.

Jean Marie Kalonji is a 29 year-old human rights activist based in Kinshasa, DRC. He holds a degree in International Law from Université Libre de Kinshasa (ULK). He is the coordinator of Quatrieme Voix , a civil society organization based in Kinshasa. He has organized and mobilized Congolese youth to understand their role and responsibility as citizens in resolving local issues from street sanitation to electoral politics.

Jean-Marie’s kidnapping is the latest among the increasing arbitrary arrests by the Kabila regime. Congolese youth are detained without any charges for months and subsequently tortured, just as was the case with popular Congolese hip hop artist Radek Supreme who was released last week for medical reasons but is feared to have been disappeared again. As Jean-Marie’s family pursue legal means of getting him released, they are also subjected to harassment and threats from the Kabila regime.

Join us in demanding the release and full accounting of Jean-Marie Kalonji, Radek Supreme, Fred Bauma, Yves Makwambala and all other political prisoners. Click here to take action!

For more information on Congo's youth movement, visit http://telema.org.