Thursday, January 24, 2019

Bitter Sweet Historic Event in Democratic Republic of Congo

Today, Thursday, January 24, 2019, an historic event occurred in our beloved homeland: the transfer of power between Joseph Kabila and Felix Tshisekedi at the palace of the nation.

The bulk of the population appeared disinterested in the pomp and pageantry. Mostly members of Felix's political party showed an interest.

If it was the people's candidate who was being inaugurated, everyone in the capital city of Kinshasa would be rejoicing. However, the lack of widespread joy did not prevent the members of the Union For Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) from celebrating in Limete (district in which the party is based), by sipping drinks and jumping with jubilant joy.

Telema Media Team

Friday, January 11, 2019

Statements on Congo's Elections

SADC congratulates President-Elect of DRCongo, Mr Felix Tshisekedi
Click here to read!

The African Union Commission takes note of the decision of the Constitutional Court of the DRC
Click here to read!

Congo's Constitutional Court Proclaims Felix Tshisekedi President
Click here to read!

African Union Calls on Congo to Suspend Proclamation of Final Results
Click here to read!

The Double Troika Summit (Summit) of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was held in Addis Ababa, in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on 17th January 2019.
Click here to read (PDF)!

URGENT - SADC urges all-inclusive government in DRC
Click here to read!

U.S. Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Pushes State Department to Address Concerns About DRC Elections
Click here to read!

National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO)
Click here to read!

African Union Commission
Click here to read!

United Nations
Click here to read!

Southern African Development Community
Click here to read!

South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa
Click here to read!

Economic Freedom Fighters
Click here to read!

International Conference on the Great Lakes Region
Click here to read!

European Union
Click here to read!

Click here to read!

Click here to read!

United States, State Department

Click here to read!

United States Congress, House Foreign Affairs
Click here to read!

US Representative, Karen Bass
Click here to read!

Friday, January 04, 2019

The Fight To End Tyrannical Regimes in Congo Persists

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 few years, Congolese youth have paid the dearest price in confronting the tyrannical regime of president Joseph Kabila. Throughout 2018, Congolese youth rose up to demand democracy and justice in the Congo. Unfortunately, several of them paid the ultimate price for demanding change under the repressive regime of Joseph Kabila. Figures such as Rossy Mukendi, Therese Kapangala, Luc Nkulula and many others are martyrs of the pro-democracy movement in the Congo.

Courageous Congolese continue to make enormous sacrifices for a better future for the sons and daughters of the Congo. As Congo enters 2019, Congolese youth and the broader Congolese society are still pursuing peace and democracy. They are demanding that the Congolese government and the broader African and International community respect the will of the Congolese people following the December 30, 2018 elections. Click here to get the latest updates on the post-election demands of the Congolese people.

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

Thursday, January 03, 2019

DRC elections : The Catholic Church has the regime of Kinshasa over a barrel

The Congolese people, who are growing suspicious of the maneuvers of the Independent National Electoral Commission CENI in acronym, were awaiting the results of the elections of December 30, 2018 when the Congolese government shut down the internet across the country. For the majority of the population, this move confirms the bad intentions of the government in complicity with the CENI. On the same day, while the DRC government was cutting the country’s internet services, the Secretary General and spokesperson of CENCO (Catholic  Bishops Conference), Fr Donatien Nshole, intervened  to make a partial presentation of the electoral process throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Nshole announced that they received 17,023 reports on voting operations, meaning informations of 78, 22% voting centers throughout the Republic.

Through its reports the CENCO declares that the general climate of the voting process was relatively calm.  In several polling stations the CENI respected the closure of polling station procedure. The CENI relaunched voting operations where the vote was interrupted. Polling stations, it says, worked relatively well.

The voting operations were interrupted due to:

- Malfunction of the voting machine. Therefore some voters could not vote;
- In some polling stations there was no  ballots counting;
- Observers and witnesses have been excluded from certain counting centers.

The General-Secretariat of CENCO says that it remains in constant contact with the CENI and all stakeholders in order to find solutions to the mentioned incidents.

In the room « Marie reine de la paix », the abbot went on to presenting the counting report. He quoted 3,496 reports which attest that:

- the Presidents of the polling stations opened the ballot box in front of the witnesses and the observers;

- 1,181 reports show that the counting process started between 5 pm and 6 pm, while 2,990 reports indicate that the counting started at 7 pm;

- 3,626 reports show that the number of ballot papers in the ballot box was equal to the electronic count;

- 1.959 reports indicate that the report on the sorting process, the results sheet of the voting machine and the results sheet of the manual count were signed by all the members of the counting center, the witnesses who were present and the 5 designated voters ;

- 2,574 reports indicate that the minutes of the polling operations, the report on the sorting process, the results sheet of the voting machine and the manual counting sheet were given to the witnesses who were present;

- 2,839 reports attest that the polling results sheet was displayed at the end of the count, but 342 attest that the voting results sheet has not yet been displayed.

I THINK THAT THERE IS A SENTENCE MISSING HERE TO INTRODUCE THIS QUOTE BOTH IN FRENCH AND IN ENGLISH !  (Suggestion : Addressing the nation, the government, the political parties and those who attended his press conference ,the Secretary General of CENCO, Donation Nshole, went on by saying:)

"The General Secretariat of CENCO asks the Congolese people to remain calm while waiting for the results to ensure the credibility of the results.

The General Secretariat of CENCO asks the CENI to pursue any action ensuring the process transparency, the display of the manual counting results at the polling stations, the identification of the Local Compilation Centers of the CLCR Results, and to provide observers access to these centers.
The General Secretariat of CENCO congratulates the government for ensuring the smooth functioning of the Internet.  I am sorry to learn just before entering the room that the internet was cut. Unfortunately the message was already signed, thank you!

During the Mass of the first day of the year, the Catholic Church of the Democratic Republic of Congo preached about the birth of Jesus Christ, referring to the book of Luke chapter 2, verse 18 to 24.  The homily delivered at the end of the Mass referred to the current situation with regard to the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo and underscored the need for vigilance.

The position of the Catholic Church puts the regime of Kinshasa in a very difficult and uncomfortable situation. On one hand CENCO holds the credible results of the elections and on the other hand it calls to civil mobilization through the idea of vigilance. We all know that the Catholic church, through its Lay Committee ( CLC- Lay Coordination Committee), is the biggest and the strongest mobilizing force in DRC. They are the ones, following three marches of protest in 2017 and 2018, who managed to obtain of the regime in Kinshasa to organize the elections of December 30, 2018.

The Catholic Church has the regime of Kinshasa over a barrel!

Jean-Marie Kalonji
Quatrieme Voie

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Congo's Security Forces Kill Two University Students

Within a span of four days, the Kabila regime's security forces killed two students and injured many others at the University of Kinshasa (UNIKIN). The Congolese police fired live bullets on students who were protesting because the start of school was delayed due to a strike. The students were demanding the immediate resumption of classes.

Since January 2015, following the Telema uprisings, UNIKIN has been under occupation by Congo's security forces and infiltrated by the Kabila regime's intelligence services. The latest clash occurred as a result of a strike by university professors which began on October 8th. Frustrated about not being able to begin classes for the new school year, UNIKIN students demanded a resolution of the strike by protesting. In response to the students call for a return to classes, the police violently clamped down on the protests, resulting in the death of  Hyacinthe Kimbafu who was studying computer science and Rodrigue Eliwo a student studying biology.

The UNIKIN students have continued to protest both the strike and now the killing of their fellow students. One of the Lumumba Scholars, outraged by the killings says "It is unconscionable to see the youth killed for demanding their rights. What kind of country are we living in where demanding our rights brings with it a death sentence?"

A number of the presidential candidates (elections are scheduled for December 23rd) and political figures have condemned the police killing of the two UNIKIN students. The Congolese Association for Access to Justice (CAAJ) has called on the Congolese government to remove the police force from the campus and bring charges against the officers responsible for killing Hyacinthe and Rodrigue. Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes said "The government must immediately launch a thorough and impartial investigation into these student deaths and bring to justice those found to be responsible."

Congo's security forces must be held to account for the killing of Rodrigue and Hyancinthe. Click here to let Steve Mbikayi, Minister of Higher Education and Marie-Ange Mushobekwa, Minister of Human Rights know that the use of lethal force against students on campuses is a crime and the police responsible for the killings must be brought to justice.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Congratulations to Dr. Mukwege for Winning the Nobel Peace Prize

Congratulations to Dr. Mukwege for Winning the Nobel Peace Prize!

Friends of the Congo congratulates Dr. Denis Mukwege on being awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. He was joint winner of the Prize with Nadia Murad an Iraqi human rights activist and survivor of sexual violence by the Islamic State.

True to his vocation, Dr. Mukwege learned of the news in the midst of performing a surgery. He dedicated the Nobel Prize to "women of all countries in the world, harmed by conflict and facing violence every day." He also had a special message for survivors, noting that "I would like to tell you that through this prize, the world is listening to you and refusing to remain indifferent. The world refuses to sit idly in the face of your suffering." 

Congolese women at the Panzi Hospital were overjoyed by the news and gave Dr. Mukwege a spontaneous and exuberant celebration.

Holding true to his principles of speaking truth to power, Dr. Mukwege reiterated his call for a new leadership in the Congo. He stated in an interview with the Guardian: "I've always said that it's an illegal and illegitimate government. They must hand over to a caretaker government, which can organise free, fair, credible elections, and this transition must also put in place the foundations to build a solid democracy." He elaborates, "I think we'll have elections on 23 December, but I think we'll elect the same people, and the same actors will produce the same system that perpetuates the violence. The December elections do not seem credible or transparent - it's a parody of an election." Read more here!

To the chagrin of the Congolese government, Dr. Mukwege is not only dedicated to caring for women who have been victims of sexual violence but he is also an indefatigable moral voice for peace, justice and dignity in the Congo.

Join us for Congo in Harlem!

Stay abreast of the latest updates via @Congofriends!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Morocco Solidarity Statement: An Appeal for Release of Social Justice Detainees

Friends of the Congo supports the social justice pursuits of the people of the Rif region of Morocco and elsewhere in the country. This region of Morocco is steeped in anti-colonial resistance and social justice actions in the face of tyranny.

The Moroccan political regime's attacks against peace loving and justice seeking activists in Morocco's northern Rif region is disconcerting, especially considering the region's deep anti-colonial history. As a solidarity organization that works with Congolese youth who are under incessant attacks by the Congolese security forces, Friends of the Congo has a keen understanding of what it is like to be pursued by state security forces that fire live bullets at demonstrators, carry out mass arrests and crush social justice advocates.

Friends of the Congo is wholly familiar with baseless charges against social justice activists throughout the African continent under the guise of threatening state security, offending a head of state or disturbing public order. It is outrageous for the Moroccan government to sentence 53 social justice advocates to 300 years of jail time. The courageous Hirak movement is reminiscent of the #Telema youth movement that challenged the Congolese government in 2015.

We stand in solidarity with our Moroccan brothers and sisters fighting for social and economic justice. We extend our sincere concern to the family and loved ones of the Rif detainees who have been wrongly and excessively sentenced. We call on the Makhze (The Moroccan political regime) to immediately release Nasser Zefzafi and all the other detainees.

Finally, we appeal to social justice seekers throughout Africa and the globe to join us in standing in solidarity with the people of Morocco fighting for justice and human dignity.