Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Free Radek

Free Radek
By Francine Mukwaya
UK Representative
Friends of The Congo

Congolese youth have stepped up their resistance against the repressive regime of Joseph Kabila. The regime has responded by killing, jailing and running into exile the youth. One of the victims of the Regime’s repressive measures is popular Kinshasa-based rapper, Radek Supreme (Mapeki N’Landu Junior).  The Congo’s National Intelligence Agency (ANR) arrested Radek on May 19, 2015. He is currently being held at the ANR compound in Kinshasa. He is subject to severe pressure on the part of Kabila’s intelligence services and is being held in inhumane conditions.

Radek was born on October 25, 1981 in Kinshasa, capital of the DRC. Radek is a husband and a father. He is married to Dora Agoloa and the two have a young girl together. Radek played an integral role in mobilizing Kinshasa youth during the #Telema uprisings in January 2015. He has used his platform as a rapper to critique government policies, especially the attempt on the part of Joseph Kabila to hold on to power beyond the two-term mandate enshrined in Congo’s constitution.

Since January, many Congolese have stepped up their resistance to Joseph Kabila’s attempt to hold on to power beyond his constitutional mandate. Opposition politicians, youth leaders, church leaders, civil society, even members of Kabila’s ruling coalition and most notably former member of Kabila’s political party and former governor of the Katanga province Moise Katumbi, have all spoken out against president Kabila’s aim to remain in power by any means necessary.

Radek does not shy away from political messages in his music. The Congolese government seems to be concerned about his overtly political rap. In addition, the government has linked him to the so-called combatants (militant Congolese Diaspora formation that mobilizes for Kabila to step down from office). The government has also associated Radek with the latest incarnation of FILIMBI, whose members organized a forum in March of 2015, which resulted in the arrests of Burkina Faso and Senegalese activists, diplomats, journalists and Congolese youth. Two of the Congolese youth (Yves Makwambala and Fred Bauma) that the Kabila regime arrested are still in prison eight months later. These youth have been wrongly accused of terrorism and sedition simply for organizing a forum to educate their fellow youth and the Kinshasa residents about their civic responsibility as citizens of the DRC.

It is vital that we call for the release of Radek, Fred, Yves and all political prisoners locked up in Kabila’s jail.


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