Saturday, January 23, 2016

Elie SMITH: Challenges in Congo(1)

When I made up my mind to work in Congo, It was a decision that I took alone. I did not want to ask my wife, for I knew she won’t like the idea. For she had always complained that, I gave priority to my profession and defense for human rights at the expense of our family. She also warned me that, I had to make a choice between my professional adventure and love for Africa or our family.  Sad as it would appear, while I love my family especially my sons, the call or attraction toward Africa with all its risk was simply magnetic. . What my wife did not know is that, since I came from a very poor background, I have seen and witness the injustice of corrupt dictatorial governments. And if I have succeeded, it was because of two things: God or the bible and education. And I am of the opinion that, in order to lift a majority out of poverty, there is need for someone or group of people must lay down their lives against dictatorship. I was and I am ready to die for the promotion and defense and promotion of democracy.  My heart was already turning toward Africa, especially the ECCAS region or Economic Community of Central Africa States.

It is a region that in my humble opinion it is the last hideout of dictatorship in Africa. Democracy is progressing all over the African continent, but not within the ECCAS sub region. The ECCAS was the only region in Africa where democracy is facing formidable opposition from dictatorial regimes and also from a people who seem not to have a spirit of sacrifice because they are victims or accomplices of repressive regimes.  To measure how backward democratic wise are countries of the ECCAS, out of the 11 countries that make up the sub regional organization, only tiny Sao Tome and Principe is a real democracy. Whereas in the 15 member state Economic Community of West African States abbreviated as ECOWAS, 13 are not only democracies, they also have presidents who are less than 10 years in power. The only bad eggs within the ECOWAS sub region are Togo and Gambia. Besides the latter, I was already disappointed with the new management that Pascaline Bongo via her lawyer of a friend by name Palazzo Gauthier had decided to impose on Telesud.

I also wanted to come back to Africa and in a country where I thought I could practice or make an impact. And that country was Congo. Small as Congo might appear, it has an influence and any change or improvement in term of democracy would have an influence around and within the ECCAS sub region.  But in Congo especially at MNCOM, it was a great place and a place full of challenges. The first was to reconstruct from crash a real Radio and Television station with the necessary material and man power that will have an impact on the people and also on the government. Those were my primary objectives immediately set foot in Congo and at MNCOM. The second challenge that I had was who to make Congolese to be interested or listen or watch our Radio and Television programmes whenever we start broadcasting. The first objectives were very difficult to achieve because most of the materials bought to set up or create the Television and Radio station were not professional materials. 

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