Thursday, March 24, 2016

Paolo Benazo: Profile of a young Congolese politician

Paolo Benazo. He means many things to many people and his detractors’ calls him a shameless traitor, while some even go the extra mile to refer to him as a pedophile.  While I don’t know why he is referred to as a pedophile, I do nonetheless consider him as the “L’Enfant terrible” of Congolese politics. I don’t know exactly how old he is, but he looks every young as at 2014, when I met him. He was and is still to me the best thing Congolese politics have produce recently. This is because he is full of controversies and drama.  His life is already a novel. Behind his very thin, frail, boyish and sheepish looks, hides a formidable political wolf. He has the spirit of a fighter that takes no prisoner and he also seems adventurous. A good politician in my opinion must have an ideology, an objective and also a spirit of risking taking.  Paolo Benazo has all those qualities in him. I have met with Paolo Benazo twice in 2014. The first time was in the company of Kevin Joseph Diafouka. On that day, I noticed that, he spoke very little, while Mr. Diafouka was running his mouth. And one other thing that caught my attention was that, while his friend Kevin Joseph Diafouka was telling him how he wanted to get rid of the current old and corrupt political elite and also that he wanted to have a debate with them.

However Paolo Benazo instead told asked me meekly that: “if you could organize a debate between me and the leader of the youth wing of the ruling party, Juste Bernadin Gavet, I will be very happy”. I sensed that, he had targets and objectives to attain and operated like a political sniper. Paolo Benazo cut his teeth in the treacherous political Congolese political water as a member of a political party called Partie du Peuple Congolais or Congolese People’s Party abbreviated in French as PPC. This party was chaired by a young Congolese businessman based in South Africa called Roger Nzaba. He was the spokesman of the party. This party was transformed on the 29th of March 2014 into Ressemblement des Jeunes Patriote or the Rally for Young Patriots, abbreviated in French as RJP by Paul Marie Mpouele, its national chairman. In transforming or renaming of PPC into RJP, Roger Nzaba was overthrown as chairman and it was a coup d’etat, which bore the hallmark of the one who became its principal ideologue, Paolo Benazo. However one year later, he resigned from RJP to create a new political party with some friends, namely: Kevin Joseph Diafouka and Evrad Nangho. That was on the 22nd of February 2015 and they called it Movement des Democrates Congolais or Movement for Congolese Democrats, where he is the secretary general.

Another thing that differentiates Paolo Benazo from other young Congolese politicians or aspiring politician is that, he always has a political ideology or orientation. The current political party that he is the secretary general abbreviated MODEC and that he is also the ideologue is a social-liberal oriented party. But the third and final observations made about Paolo Benazo is that, whenever he joins a political party, he makes an effort to be given a strategic position that also has authorities and not prestige. He has all the traits of the old guards but young with an unparalleled Sinicism. He is ready and able to use any means possible to attain his goal. His strength lies in the fact, most of his political friends and rivals seems to underestimate him because of his calm and somehow naïve demeanor. Paolo Benazo has worked  for the  Congolese National Commission on Human rights abbreviated in French as CHDH at the computer department and currently, he works at the Congolese National Commission for the Organization of Elections or in French: Commission National d’Organisation des Elections abbreviated in French as CONEL as an administrative attaché for the 3rd vice chairman .

He registered in 2007 as student at the Marien Ngouabi University in Brazzaville to study Physics and Mathematics, but left in 2008 for South Africa where he spent 6 years and came back with a degree in Electronics. It is not known or clear in which South African university he obtained his degree. He is a force to be counted upon in Congolese politics and cause célèbre on Facebook through his salacious lifestyle and Congolese politics is truly very salacious. It looks more like a combination of a Nollywood and Telenouvellas film where power, betrayal, sex and money reigns supreme than proper political   ideological debates.

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