Aubin Minaku is the Speaker of DRC Parliament, the low chamber since 2012. He is a professional lawyer, working on his PhD thesis in the area of international law. A political figure who evolved quickly from expertise to political appointment based on his talents and aptitudes. He is an influential member of the ruling party in Congo, from Bandundu province and the secretary general of Presidential majority.
The speaker has held a press conference few weeks ago with Congolese media. When responding to one of the question in Lingala during this event, he looks as if the 2014 Brazilians defenders would refer to 1934 world cup to justify their defeat against German. Though generally undertaken, Aubin Minaku in his speech at some point of the interview, he pointed a finger to Leopold II and the former President Mobutu’s regime to explain their minor achievements for 13 years of their regime. The press conference covered different topics, but it was mostly concentrated to DRC constitution and the article 220. However, this article wants to raise public attention regarding Minaku’s benchmarks of what they realized since 2001. The article would also prefer to see politicians and political leaders being accountable and honest in front of their achievements, rather than throwing responsibilities to others.
I am sure readers would prefer to get my opinion about the recent developments as Camp Tshatshi attack this week. These types of attacks are becoming repetitive but my points of view remain unchanged and still consider these attacks as being parts of maneuvers aiming to distract the public. Therefore, it’s possible to understand the attack in the discussion below. As long as you unlikely convincing on your achievements, there is also possibility of opening up some security riddles so as it becomes easy to justify some unlawful decisions. For details on the blog viewpoints, check the article here.
Back to the press conference, this is how it went on. When Minaku was replying to a question asked by a female journalist related to Bukanga Lonzo agro-industrial Park, he never minds to refer to colonial era to defend what the Joseph Kabila’s regime has achieved. The journalist wanted Minaku’s viewpoint on one of the PPRD of Joseph Kabila achievements since 2001. As the Bukanga Lonzo agro-industrial park was inaugurated few days ago, she looks pessimistic to believe that these parks will be widely spread in the remaining provinces. Arithmetically, she deducted that as the only agro-industrial park achieved has taken 13 years; that is, it would take 13 years times number of provinces (13*10=130 years or 13*20=260 years) to have them established. See the link here and his statement on 41.30′
Bukanga Lonzo is an agro-industrial park of 75,000 ha situated in Bandundu province, 136.4 miles (220kms) from Kinshasa. It appears as a pilot project that could be duplicated in the remaining provinces. The Bukanga Lonzo park establishment had cost to DRC government around $83 million. The leitmotiv behind such agro-industrial park turns around self-supported large scale agriculture production from farming to processing. It represents also employment opportunities within a context of agriculture based economy. If succeeded, the Bukanga Lonzo will definitely bring advantages to the western side of DRC, especially the growing Kinshasa city.
The question drew my attention as an interesting and relevant falling into the area of socio-economic achievements of the current regime. Nonetheless, beyond arithmetical calculation, the establishment of these parks may not need centuries and centuries. It requires simply a political will and mechanisms of having things done for the public interests than those of rulers.
The question was asked in Lingala, the second largely spoken national language in DRC. The parliament speaker, while holding an interview in Kinshasa, went trapped by journalists inviting him to speak in Lingala as most of Congolese were (will) listening to the interview. Subsequently, he had to take few questions in Lingala supplementing the discussion in French. Though the country has 4 national languages; unfortunately, those Congolese who can’t speak or understand Lingala (I am sure they are) were left on their own. However, the use of Lingala wasn’t so strange as compared to the content of his specific answer to the question.
In Lingala, the second part of his answer was formulated as “Deuxiemement, Leopold II azuwaka bambula boni po atonga Kongo? Mobutu asala bambula boni po atonga ba parc agro-industriels na ba provinces nioso ya Kongo? Biso tangu tuzuwaki pouvoir, 13 ans yango ; ba guerres boni tobandaki (tobundaki) ? tolobi ba guerres boni ? Point d’achevement ! Efforts nini tosali depuis 2001 na mokonzi oyo ya lelo Joseph Kabila…”. Though my Lingala is weak and won’t to improve it until get convinced, the statement of Minaku roughly means in English as such: “secondly, how long had it taken to Leopold II to build Congo? How long had it taken to Mobutu to widespread and construct agro-industrial parks in the whole provinces of Congo? But for us (i.e the ruling party or Kabila’s regime), since we got the power 13 years ago, how many wars had we fought? We say how much efforts we deployed since 2001 with the current ‘mokonzi’ Joseph Kabila…”
The statement of Minaku is closer to a hypothetical answer that would have been given by Brazilians defenders during the 2014 semi-final match played against Germans. As Brazilian fan, this was a chocking score for most of the team supporters as well as the public audience watching the match at home when they lost 7-1. The previous saddening match closer to Leopold II era in Congo that Brazil had played is 1934 against Spain. During that match, Brazil lost 3-1; approximately the second in terms of not doing well since the existence of world cup. Furthermore, the 1934 world cup looks as the competition in which they were eliminated as earlier as possible; though the world cup organization capabilities and world political schemes with regards to football were different from that of 2014. The blog believes that it would be so embarrassing if 2014 Brazilians footballers would excuse the defeat by saying the 1934 has also lost; so PLZ try to understand us!
Even though parts of DRC history, the blogger found unconvincing that the Speaker referred to a colonial period as a benchmark to excuse controversial achievements of an elected regime. From the viewpoint of this article, it has to be understood that King Leopold II went to Congo, on the first place, for establishing a space to boost his own interests and that Belgium. Additionally, Leopold II is among a controversial figure that has been suspected if not accused of crimes during his wealth accumulation as well as mistreatment of local population. These aspects strongly justify the African struggle of independence’s fathers such Lumumba and others. Therefore, comparing an elected regime, whose first interest would be that of serving the sovereign people, with a colonial regime that used force to occupy a territory, may be subjected to debate.
The blogger would tolerate a parliament speaker as Minaku referring to the recurring wars in DRC, especially in its Eastern part. It’s quite understandable to have an explanation of minor achievements due to war context so long as it can be agreed that the latter can hinder efforts to get a country developed. Nevertheless, it has to be clear that the dragging of DRC isn’t a binary model that can be explained by only one independent variable, war. Many observers would agree on different factors explaining why Congo is lagging behind, that includes power management from Mobutu to the current regime. But also, the reader wouldn’t contradict the fact that most of rulers have extremely accumulated wealth, through corruption and embezzlements; to the detriment of ordinary citizens.
Moreover, based on Minaku’s explanation, it leads to conclude that he will concerned with the regime’s achievement after 19 years from now as Mobutu ruled over Zaire for a period of 13 +19. It will be until the current regime realizes 32 years that Minaku will probably find another form of excuses. Strikingly, DRC is apparently under a “democratic process” stating that the time limit of an elected president is 10 years. Until stated otherwise, the current regime would be compiling his achievements for the 2016 rendezvous. What would be Minaku’s feeling if their successor will again say that Leopold II, Mobutu, Kabila… are my benchmarks? The successor repeating that they didn’t construct roads, ports, schools, health sanitation…, don’t blame us.
The reader can still convince me on the foundation of Minaku’s statement but I honestly detest these ways of getting excuses. What about you?
Ntanyoma R. Delphin
Twitter account @delphino12