Since March this year, thousands of Congolese civilians have fled the militia and violence in the Kasai region of the DRC. It is estimated that over 20,000 Congolese nationals have flocked to Angola in a desperate attempt to seek safety and refuge.
The DRC has been plagued by decades of political instability and is yet to witness a peaceful transfer of power. It is feared that the country is on the brink of a collapse as tensions continue to grow even further.
Discontent for the current president Joseph Kabila has dominated much of the discourse surrounding the much-anticipated presidential elections (which were due to take place in December last year).
Various human rights groups have commented on the appalling treatment of members of the opposition parties and activists.
Two foreign UN investigators were murdered in Congo earlier this year following increasing concerns over the insecurities of the country. An estimated 40 mass graves were found in Kasai, a deeply troubled region, that is host to numerous militia groups and rebels in Congo.
With the deteriorating state of the country, dozens of Congolese nationals are drawing the world’s attention to the humanitarian crisis that is sweeping across the DRC. However, those who are brave enough to publicly denounce the actions of Kabila’s government are repressed and silenced.
Sindika Dokolo is one of the latest people to be targeted by the Congolese government. He was falsely convicted of fraud, and was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment by Kabila who claimed the art collector and businessman had been involved in numerous ‘dodgy dealings’.
Born in Kinshasa Zaïre, in 1972 during the Mobutu era, Sindika Dokolo spent his childhood in the DRC but was forced to flee the politically unstable country. Having completed his studies in France and Belgium, Dokolo moved to Luanda Angola, where he has been living since 1999.
The Dokolo family have always had a deep sense of responsibility to the DRC and have wanted to participate in the total restoration of their home country.
Even though Dokolo lives outside the DRC, the Congolese born businessman is desperately attempting to evoke change using his influence, power, and connections to the Angolan government to help Congo back on its feet.
This has upset the Congolese government who have taken ‘deep offense’ to Dokolo’s honest remarks about the corrupt political elite. More than 99% of the Congolese population lives on less than $ 1.25 a day, while the country’s politicians live lavishly at the peoples’ expense.
The country is at critical point in its history, there should be dialogue about the direction the DRC should go in, which serves in the best interests of the democratic republic of Congo and its neighboring countries in central Africa.
However, it seems as though Kabila is in no position of improving the country despite his claims of wanting to ‘facilitate a peaceful transition of power’. Kabila’s actions in themselves have revealed a worrying flaw in the running of the state. The country still remains for a select few and disadvantages the majority.
It is clear that Kabila’s intentions are not for the full implementation of democracy. Kabila will not step down for democracy’s sake but for a guaranteed continuous salary and peace of mind.
The Congo still remains undemocratic. There is no freedom of the speech. No freedom of movement. No right to life. No right to a respectful death.
Kabila’s democracy is one that is defined by greed and power paid for by the blood and sweat of Congolese nationals.
Dokolo has no political ties to the country but has gone out of his way to bring about change from a distance and he is not being received with open arms. It would be foolish to assume that what Congo needs is democracy, the problems the country face are far too complex and require time.
It’s very easy for Dokolo to be ashamed of Congo, a country which is on the verge of becoming a failed state despite this, Dokolo remains lovingly devoted to the DRC.
Sindika has no political ambition, no different to you and me, he is a husband, a father, a brother, and a son who is trying to change the DRC for tomorrow.
Article by Madina Wakenge and Sarah R Wakenge