DRC Community Support: The Cost of Legal Personality


One of the roles of a state would, specifically that of public administration, be integrating local communities support into their daily struggle. Whatever circumstances are, political perspectives have to focus on improving the socio-economic conditions of its population. In addition, public administration has to understand that partnership with the private sector as well as civil society is a requirement that can fulfill some gaps left by public offices. As responding to different and diverse needs of local population needs more efforts, the partnership can be only seen as an obligation. In several cases, civil society and private sector’s initiatives require a legal personality to work legally.

Several miles away of the ground, the blogger thought to share an estimation of how my friend and I struggled to obtain a DRC passport while located in Misisi, South-Kivu. The link here estimated the cost of this important travel document. The argument in the article was a hypothetical estimation of a friend who wanted to invest his limited funds in South-Soudan from his remote area of Misisi. The distance to be covered in order to reach Kinshasa was roughly estimated to 2000 Kms; while the cost of the passport in terms of money was around $2000. There was no alternative to obtain the travel document other than travelling from Misisi to Kinshasa. Unfortunately, based on our estimation with my friend, we found impossible to travel together to get these documents as the remaining fund couldn’t then be invested as intended. We get constrained in our project by the fact of the expensive cost of accessing a passport.

This time, the article shares an experience of obtaining legal personality of an association or Local Non-Government Organization (LNGO). Few days ago, the blogger met an activist of the civil society who intends to establish a LNGO in Minembwe. The LNGO aims at fighting the VIH Aids through sensitization and advocacy. His initiative looks so great based on alarming information of the widespread of the Aids. Obviously, it looks like Aids is uncovered by different international actors in Minembwe as the area is well lagging behind due to lack of infrastructures. Lack of basic infrastructures in Congo, especially in rural areas is unlikely a secret. Moreover, local population are slightly aware of what is the really HIV/Aids. Therefore, the initiative needs support from anyone interested in local development, considering the statistics on his hand. At this point, public officials would be on the top to support the initiative.

However, this is the experience and the cost of obtaining the legal personality; the key to get any external funds as well as fulfilling legal requirements. To run such initiative, the activist needed once to have provisional authorization (Autorisation de fonctionnement Provisoire) from the province office. Nonetheless, a legal personality remains primordial to move further. Thus, he has to have it in order to support local communities in their struggle. The legal personality cannot be delivered outside of the Capital, Kinshasa. A round trip is roughly estimated to $1200 from Bukavu to Kinshasa. He arrived in Kinshasa end May 2014 and it took approximately 100 days to get the document; that is 74 working days. If you have to get wisely accommodated, guesthouses room is between $30-40 per night. That makes around $3500[1], for accommodation only; getting a room without meal. Kinshasa is among the mostly expensive town in terms of transport compared to the level of individual resources. The reader won’t be convinced until s/he feels on first-hand the cost of travel (to be discussed next time).

Besides these costs related to travel and accommodation in Kinshasa, requesting and obtaining a legal personality within the Internal, Security, Decentralization and Customary Affairs Ministry requires the following costs: LNGO Internal Statute elaboration (300$); legalizing Internal Statute by the notary ($100); applying for the legal personality ($300) and the document in itself (legal personality) costs ($150). The total cost related to the document at ministry level is approximately $850. When adding up the accommodation, travel and the direct cost of the legal personality gives approximately the cost of $5550. The calculation didn’t include the cost of meals and transport in Kinshasa. Subsequently, the cost of obtaining a legal personality in Kinshasa equals an annual per capita income of more than 10 Congolese as the latter is estimated around $330.

This is not a story-telling or a hypothetical estimation. The activist had to incur all these costs if he did not get a friend who accepted to accommodate him for the 5 months he is spending in the large city of 11 million populations. The decentralization process has been slowing down since 2005 and the dragging seems to have affected different initiatives. It might be possible that the failure of implementing decentralization can exactly be found into its inappropriateness in the context of DRC. Therefore, besides promises from public officials to work on the decentralization process, it remains unpredictable when will this happening. Consequently, the failure to fully implement the decentralization affects largely local initiatives as well as their well-being. That is why, I always advocate on the establishment of federal system in DRC as it encompasses features that can bring change and better future for our population. The interest of ruling has to firstly be serving the people rather than accumulating power and wealth.

Have you another viewpoint? PLZ share with me

Ntanyoma R. Delphin

Twitter account @delphino12

Email: rkmbz1973@gmail.com

Blog: www.edrcrdf.wordpress.com

[1] The average of (30+40)/2=$35

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