Sunday, February 27, 2011

Coup Attempt in Kinshasa?

Radio Okapi reports that shots were fired this afternoon near the residence of president Joseph Kabila behind the grand Hotel of Kinshasa in the Gombe Commune. People living in the neighborhood were blocked from entering their homes and road blocks were set up on all roads leading to the president's residence.

Reporters observed a significant deployment of the Republican Guard who is responsible for the security of the president. A team of military police have also been deployed near camp Kokolo.

Congo's Minister of Communications, Lambert Mende said on national television that a non identifiable group of commandos attacked the residence of the head of state. He stated that the group was repelled by the presidential guard and calm has returned. Reports say six of the assailants were killed and others were injured and arrested.

Although the international press has reported an attempted coup and six people being killed, we must be extremely cautious. The international press received its information from the Congo's information sic. communication minister Lambert Mende, who is not the most credible source. It has been reported to FOTC that one person was killed and the others have not been found. It is not out of the realm of possibility that this was a staged event by the regime to foment fear among the population and set the stage for increased repression and tightening of the political space leading up to the November elections.

DR Congo: Six killed in 'coup bid' against Kabila

Deaths in DRC 'failed coup attempt'
Al Jazeera

Six dead in failed coup attempt - DR Congo

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Congressional Briefing to Address Justice and stability in the Congo and Great Lakes Region of Africa

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) released the official “Report of the Mapping Exercise" in October 2010. The report documents "the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003”.

Human Rights Watch executive director, Kenneth Roth says: "If followed by strong regional and international action, this report could make a major contribution to ending the impunity that lies behind the cycle of atrocities in the Great Lakes region of Africa."

Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs said: “The United States is firmly committed to helping the DRC and other nations in the region take positive steps to end the corrosive cycle of violence and impunity.”

The United States has a key role to play in making sure that justice is delivered to the people of Central Africa. US tax dollars fund US allies, Rwanda and Uganda who are deeply implicated in mass atrocities, crimes against humanity, war crimes and possibly genocide in the Congo.

The American taxpayers should be assured that their tax dollars are not supporting mass atrocities in Africa and perpetuating a war, which has killed an estimated 6 million people, making it the deadliest conflict since World War II. The Congressional briefing can serve as a first step in delivering justice to the people in the heart of Africa.

Who: African Great Lakes Advocacy Coalition (Africa Faith and Justice Network, Friends of the Congo, Foreign Policy in Focus, African Great Lakes Action Network, Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, Foundation for Freedom and Democracy in Rwanda, Congo Global Action Coalition, International Humanitarian Law Institute of St. Paul, Mobilization for Peace and Justice in Congo)

What: Briefing on the UN Mapping Exercise Report and its Implications for US Policy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region

Brian Endless, Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation

Bahati Jacques, Africa Faith and Justice Network
Nita Evele, Congo Global Action Coalition
Professor Nii Akuetteh, Founder, The Democracy & Conflict Research Institute, DCRI; and Founding Executive Director of OSIWA
Emira Woods, Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute of Policy Studies

When: 2 P.M. – 4 P.M. Wednesday, March 2, 2011 

Where: Room 2226 Rayburn House Office Building
45 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20515

RSVP: or 202-584-6512
Contacts: Friends of the Congo
Phone: 202-584-6512

For more information, please visit or

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rwanda, Congo and the Great Lakes A Battle of Narratives

The past few months have witnessed a shift in the narrative by some of Paul Kagame's staunchest supporters. Most notably, Stephen Kinzer in a 180 degree turnaround stated in the Guardian of London that "President Kagame should accept the possibility that his judgment may not always be correct, and listen earnestly to Rwandans with different ideas. He still has the chance to enter history as one of the greatest modern African leaders. There is also the chance, however, that he will be remembered as another failed African big-man, a tragic figure who built the foundations of a spectacular future for his country, but saw his achievements collapse because he could not take his country from one-man rule toward democracy." Read entire article here.

Another one of Paul Kagame's key intellectual supporter, Philip Gourevitch, recently came under scrutiny by Tristan McConnell in the Columbia Journalism Review in an article entitled "One Man's Rwanda." The article unleashed a debate between McConnell, Gourevitch and Howard French. Such a debate would not receive such prominence five years ago, this is certainly a sign that the hold that Paul Kagame has had on American intellectuals who have carried water for him since 1994 is weakening.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Congo's Egypt, February 16, Sixteen Years Ago

On February 16, 1993, at least one million Congolese of all ages participated in the "March of Hope" in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire. They demanded the resumption of the Sovereign National Conference (CNS), which was brutally interrupted by the US-backed dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. The Conference marked the beginning of political change, and the end of fear and silence. People were willing to die to end the dictatorship.

Unfortunately for the Congolese people, the CNS failed to achieve its goal of non-violently getting rid of the US-backed dictator, Mobutu. It also failed to set up a viable political framework for transition to democracy.

In spite of the CNS failures, Dr Nzongola Ntlaja said that it accomplished a lot in that "more than any other national conference in Africa, the CNS did a rather thorough job in examining the country's past and in adopting a new vision or societal project for the future."

Congolese continue to yean to control their own affairs and excavate themselves from a brutal war imposed on them by US allies Rwanda and Uganda (1996 - 2002). The youth of the Congo appeal to supporters outside Congo to challenge the foreign policy of Western nations that back and maintain strongmen at the expense of the people. In addition, the youth call for a solidarity movement that supports their efforts inside Congo to bring about peaceful and lasting change in the heart of Africa.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

How Uganda's President Museveni Created Kill-The-Gays Mentality

The murder of David Kato, a gay rights activist in Uganda who was bludgeoned with a hammer, can be laid directly on the doorsteps of the country's dictator of 25 years Gen. Yoweri K. Museveni who for years has been publicly vilifying homosexuals.

It's one thing to accept that in Uganda, as in most African countries, with conservative traditional and cultural values, homosexuality is taboo--denied, hidden, rejected and denounced. It's altogether reprehensible, abhorrent, and completely unacceptable, when a country's president incites the population against a segment of its own citizenry, especially one that is already ostracized.

That's precisely what's been happening in Uganda--clearing the path for the killing of Kato, a spokesman for Sexual Minorities Uganda and a noted human rights activist.

Uganda gained quite a bit of negative global publicity last year when a member of parliament from Gen. Museveni's National Resistance Movement (NRM) ruling party introduced legislation to make homosexuality punishable by death. After calls from the Prime ministers of Britain and Canada, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging him to have the proposed Bill scrapped, Gen. Museveni, during a meeting of his NRM stalwarts, urged legislators to "go slow" on the Bill, which he said had now become a "foreign policy" issue.

According to the President's own official website in Uganda, Gen. Museveni said the proposal was "brought as a private members bill to Parliament" by Bahati, and not by his government. Gen. Museveni, on his website also claims that "in his conversation with US secretary of State Clinton, he said he had heard that homosexuals come from Europe and recruit young people using money, something she described as exploitation."

It would be interesting to compare Secretary Clinton's own recollection of that conversation with general Museveni's account.

As a natural progression of David Bahati's hate campaign, last year, a Ugandan tabloid newspaper, Rolling Stone, published the names, photographs and addresses of suspected homosexuals --including Kato's-- with a yellow banner saying "hang them." The editor of the paper Giles Muhame said it was in the "public interest," even though attacks on suspected gays were reported after the publication--he also called on people to report those believed to be homosexual to the police.

Yet, Gen. Museveni's attempt to distance himself from Bahati's proposed execute-the-gays Bill or the publisher of Rolling Stone's lynching campaign, is disingenuous. For years, the dictator himself had been preaching hatred towards homosexuals.

Here are a sampling of his own utterances:

"I have told the Criminal Investigations Department to look for homosexuals, lock them up and charge them," The New Vision, Uganda's government-owned daily newspaper quoted the general saying, in an article on September 29, 1999. "God created Adam and Eve...I did not see God creating man and man."

And according to local Uganda media and human rights organization's accounts, in subsequent weeks there were indeed arrests of several suspected homosexuals; some were tortured and locked up for weeks by the secret police. Some victims described being kicked and slapped until they bled, made to urinate on each other, having skin peeling chemicals poured on their skin, or made to sleep in the same room with corpses; some were reportedly allowed to be raped by other inmates.

Even students reported being publicly caned in front of their peers and then expelled from school for suspected of being homosexual.

On August 17, 2008, under the headline "Museveni backs church against gays," The New Vision reported that during the consecration of a Bishop, Gen. Museveni, speaking against homosexuality, said: “I salute the Archbishop and bishops of Africa for resisting disorientation and a decadent culture.." being passed by Western nations.

“Don’t fear, resist and do not compromise on that. It is a danger not only to the believers but to the whole of Africa. It is bad if our children become complacent and think that people who are not in order are alright," he is quoted as saying. Dr. Kizza Besigye, leader of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) opposition party who was also attending the consecration ceremony reportedly walked out.

Yet, who could blame people like David Bahati and the publisher of Rolling Stone newspaper, who might have seen themselves as Ugandan "heroes" and "saviors" following such pronouncements by their president. Especially when the president has now been in office for a quarter century and recently said, regardless of the outcome of the Feb. 18, 2011 presidential elections, that he does not intend to cede power.

Yet Gen. Museveni remains a favorite of some Western leaders, including in Washington and London.

As recently as June 3, 2010 under the headline "Museveni warns on dangers of sodomy," The New Vision reported that Gen. Museveni "asked the clergy and African leaders to guard against Western culture, warning that the continent will end up eaten by homosexuality if they relax."

The newspaper quoted him saying: “The African Church is the only one that is still standing against homosexuality. The Europeans are finished. If we follow them, we shall end up in Sodom and Gomorrah.” The newspaper said Museveni also spoke about the “dehumanisation of people through homosexuality.”

African traditional values and conservatism aside, Uganda's dictator has undeniably through the presidential pulpit fostered the kind of hate and impunity which gave rise to David Bahati, the publisher of Rolling Stone, and now the killer of David Kato.

Even after Kato's murder, Muhame, Rolling Stone's editor today told a Ugandan newspaper: “He brought death upon himself. He hasn’t lived carefully. Kato was a shame to this country.”

No; it's Bahati, Muhame, and Museveni who are a shame to Uganda.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

By Milton Alamadi of Black Star News

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

ASADHO Condemns Political Intolerance Fostered by the Congolese Government


"ASADHO condemns political intolerance fostered by the Congolese government on the eve of general elections in DR Congo"

The African Association for Defense of Human Rights (ASADHO), is alarmed by a series of intimidation, arrests and repression against members of the political opposition by the Government of the DRC.

Indeed, these are listed following cases:

1) On January 9, 2011, meeting of members of political opposition in the Congo Room of the Grand Hotel in Kinshasa has been banned without giving any reason;

2) An event scheduled to take place January 7, 2011 by the political party Congolese Union for the Nation (UNC) led by Mr. President Vital Kamerhe was banned for reasons not stated.

To recall, during his political tour in order to implement the provincial federations of his party Union pour la Nation in eastern Congo country, Vital Kamerhe, was banned from holding a rally in downtown Goma in the province North Kivu without reason;

3) The arrest in Kindu December 16, 2010 of party members including Mr. Vital Kamerhe Clement Kapay Lukembe Muchapé and Daniel, both charged with implementing the party in the localities and Kibombo Kabambare

The arrest of Mr Ndongala, National President of Christian Democracy party (DC). On tour in the preparation of the congress of his party, Mr. Eugene Ndongala, was arrested Jan. 13, 2011 in Moanda by elements of the Congolese National Police based on a procedural violation. On January 14, 2011, he was prosecuted before the Court of Peace Moanda, for alleged assault and simple assault and contempt and sentenced to five months' imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 Congolese Francs. On January 15, 2011, he was transferred to the prison of Boma, where he is detained to date. His bodyguard was also arrested and his property (telephones) were taken away.

5) For his part, Mr. Freddy Kita, Secretary General of the party "DC" in Kinshasa said he received Monday, January 24, 2011 threats by a stranger on the phone, saying: "this time you will see what will happen to you "

6) The refusal by the notary of the city of Kinshasa to authenticate the revised statutes of the party Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS);

According to information received by ASADHO, the new statutes of the party Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), adopted at its first ordinary congress held in Kinshasa in December 2010, presented by the Secretary General of that party to be notarized in this month of January 2011 have been rejected by the Notary of the Town of Kinshasa.

ASADHO notes while we are heading towards elections later this year, members of the political opposition are being arrested, intimidated, threatened and punished or banned demonstrations by the security services of the DRC in violation of the Constitution.

The Government's attitude is not likely to guarantee free elections, democratic and fair to all political parties.

ASADHO condemns this political intolerance and recalls that under Article 60 of the Constitution, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are necessary for public authorities and any person.

Given the foregoing, ASADHO recommends:

• To the President of the Republic:

- The unconditionally release of all political opponents are jailed.

• To the Congolese Government:

- Ensure the safety of members of political opposition and allow them to freely hold their meetings and other public events in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

- Take necessary measures to ensure that all elections to be held in the DR Congo be free, democratic and fair.


- Include in its plans for 2011, protection of opposition candidates in the elections of 2011.

• Political Parties

- Do not give in to threats and intimidation, but continue to exercise their rights under the provisions of the Constitution.

Kinshasa, January 31, 2011


For information, contact:
Master Jean Claude Katende: National President
Telephone (00243) 811 729 908

Master George Kapiamba: National Vice President
Telephone (00243) 814 043 641

"Floribert Chebeya did not die for nothing. Continue the struggle for Human Rights ". c2% b002asadho2011 du 31012011liberez les-political opponents, imprisoned /

African Association for the Defense of Human Rights (ASADHO)
D. R. Congo