The following is the memorandum of the Congolese Civil Society in South Africa that was dropped on the 16 February 2016 to the South African Parliament in Cape Town after the march.
MEMORANDUM OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY OF CONGOLESE DIASPORA IN SOUTH AFRICA
Over the past thirteen years, Congolese in Democratic Republic of Congo <DRC> and around the world have been commemorating the date of February 16th in different ways but with special attention to the involvement of the DRC’s churches for democracy improvement in our country.
On this day, February1992; Christians from all denominations supported by other churches, decided and did strike everywhere in DRC in order to push the then dictator President named Mobutu to reopen the National Sovereign Forum. During this later, all decisions taken should have brought Democracy and resolved the crisis of legitimacy started since the death of the first democratic elected Prime Minister Patrice Emery Lumumba. Mobutu’s government replied by fire and killed many Christians including Priests who were striking peacefully. This action brought sanction to DRC Government, and the international community pushed the then dictator to reopen the National Sovereign Forum because of which many Christians surrendered their lives.
Though Mobutu is no longer president and Congolese seem to vote, many people of international community are thinking that the election of Kabila as head of state <contested by Congolese people and the catholic churches>, didn’t change the situation and has worsen. Congolese are living in terror and many are refugees in their own country. International Media are not reporting on all realities under which Congolese are living although the biggest UN representative in the worlds in term of number of soldiers and administrators are deployed in all provinces of DRC, not only at the East part as some Media are reporting by limiting the truth. This is a way to hide the reality of what Congolese are living in other provinces. Hence we take ourselves the responsibility to strive for this democracy.
The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, our country, is disturbing and worrying. We still remember the unfortunate and painful memory of wars and tribulations that have sown confusion in the Congolese population and spilled the blood of millions of son and daughters of our country because of such a way to gain power by force and exercise it to the detriment of the common good. Democratic governance requires the relevant rules and values of all.
The same way to access to power is the basis of some events taking place in our country and which are warring: the strong militarization of the capital Kinshasa, restrictions on individual freedoms in the country, the massacres recorded on the 19th , 20th and 21st January 2015 the growth of repression and intimidation, the appointment of the special Commissioners not elected by the people as recommended by the constitution, the trap dialogue with a backdrop to go around constitutional provisions, extend the mandate of Kabila by the creation of a political transition, review the constitution and maintain the population in poverty; all these events are conceived and planned by some greedy politicians hungry for power.
Moreover, our country known as potentially rich, one of the richest in the world, is now found itself paradoxically socially among the poorest in the world. We are cornered by the surrounding poverty. We are surviving longer rather than living: dramatically dilapidated economic system, problematic supply of essential commodities, vertical drop in purchasing power, accentuated unemployment, famine, diseases of all kinds, etc. Paradoxically to this alarming and disastrous socio-economic situation, the government plunged the country into intolerance, tribal hatred and State terrorism.
Congolese people are victims of a specifically organized society for the sole purpose of ensuring profit and maintain the powers of a minority very sated by the limitation of rights and the exploitation of the majority which is found itself in each moment of his life before an empty plate.
This disaster requires urgent and effective solutions. The people must no longer remain powerless against corruption, attempts to change the constitution and others. This situation should in no way sustain.
That is why we stand massively as one people to take part in this march on this day of February 16, 2016 to remember our martyrs who shed their blood for the welfare of the Congo and face different challenges launched by our martyrs of the march of hope.
We have an obligation, as permitted by the article 64 of our Constitution which states: “all Congolese have the duty to thwart any individual or group of individuals who takes power by force or who exercises it in violation of the provisions of the present Constitution.”
Grounded on this civil right, we, the Congolese civil Society, are asking the South African parliament to stand on our behalf and urge the South African Government and the African Union to consider the aspirations of the Congolese people when they get involved in the democratization process of our country, and the following are our aspirations:
On behalf of the Congolese people we demand:
- The respect of the constitution of the democratic Republic of Congo. This implies clearly that the current president of the DRC, Mr. Joseph Kabila Kabange, is not eligible for the third term.
- The organization of the presidential and legislative elections within the constitutional deadline.
- The respect of Human Right, especially the respect of freedom of expression in our country
- The cease of fights in the East side of our Country.
- The release of all political and activist prisoners.
- The respect of the principles of different agreements (Lusaka, Dar-es-Salam,…)
The South African parliament can use its position to push Congolese leaders to a realistic action that could save the country from a chaos. If negotiation is needed, then the respect of the constitution has to be the first principle.
We believe that if the involvement of the South Africa government is extended to other African countries that have the same situation like our country by following the aspirations of the people, many lives will be saved, much chaos in Africa will be avoided and the issues of immigration in Africa will take a positive new way forward.
While thanking South Africa for the input in the democratic process of our country, we still believe that South Africa could be at a great help in the stability of Africa if it uses its position to implement the need of people in the countries it is involved.
May God bless The Democratic Republic of Congo
May God bless South Africa
May God bless AFRICA