Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Profile of Paul Marie Mpouele: the rise and fall of the bright hope of Congolese opposition

Paul Marie Mpouele: he is a young and also an ambitious politician.   Along with Paolo Benazo, Kevin Joseph Diafouka, Evrad Nangho and Dorian Cherryl Mpassi Samba and others who have not yet reached their notoriety, they are the rising stars in the Congolese political industry.  I call it an “industry”, because, in Congo, most Congolese think that, the only area or “business sector”, where they can get rich fast, is in the area or sector of politics. Hence, most young Congolese wants to become politicians or go into politics. And their attraction into politics is so strong that, today, most political leaders in Congo are a people without convictions. All they want is money or to get rich fast.

Mega treachery

Furthermore, the most frightening thing is that, even the younger generations are following the fickle political footprints of their elders.  But as you will discover, until the mega anti government rally of September 27th 2015, happened, Paul Marie Mpouele was a force of inspiration to many young Congolese and young men and women of his generation within the central African sub region. Everyone credited the success of that mega anti government meeting to him, for he was the coordinator of a youth platform created by elders of the opposition and given to him, the young dynamic Paul Marie Mpouele. It was his political battle of Trafalgar. And the good thing is that, he won. But it also turned out paradoxically that, the mega anti government rally, which propelled him to the zenith, also exposed his mega treachery and thus, he met his political waterloo. His meteoric rise ended like a meteor. He exploded.  Sadly, as you will read at the end of this profile, Paul Marie Mpouele has turned out to be the greatest disappointment of his generation. He epitomizes a generation of young Congolese, who seem to love pleasure and who have an insatiable lust, doubled with a culture of immediacy. They might turn out to be worst than their elders. At least, their parents, some of them, at least could boast of having resisted the French by opting for Marxism, while most of French-speaking Africa  were attracted or were pulled toward Gaullist France-Africa, this led by the likes of Houphouet Boigny,  Ahmadou Ahidjo or Albert Bernard Bongo who later become known as Omar Bongo. But what can a fraction of young Congolese show, when they can’t fight the dictator called Denis Sassou Nguesso? Interestingly, not everyone or should I say, not every young Congolese is Paul Marie Mpouele.
Biblical characters

Paul Marie Mpouele is the combination of two biblical characters. Namely: Esau, who sold his birth right and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus Christ.  Before the above, this was how I presented or wrote about Pau Marie Mpouele, that, I knew and was witness of his torments in the hands of the savage Congolese Police, headed by the assertive and also the unapologetic    war criminal called, General Jean Francois Ndenguet. It is a pity that, Paul Marie Mpouele could not resist the pull of money from the government. However to his discharge, I think, it is primordial for all those supporting pro-democracy movements and activists around the world and in Africa in particular, to try and make them to be beyond want. For I know from experience that, it is very difficult for any man or woman, who is hungry to have any virtue or  to be able to resist for long the attraction or pull of corruption from the government. On the other hand, I am of the opinion that, unless one has not made up his or her mind, he/she must not chose to be a pro-democracy activists or an independent journalist in Africa or in  most third world countries.  For I am of the opinion that, only fools do change their minds, because before taking any decision, one has to think of all the consequences and there is an English adage which says: think, before you leap. You don’t leap for you think.

Consequences of pro-democracy activism

Therefore all those popular claims or sanctimonious declarations to discharge or protect indecisive people that: only fools don’t change, is wrong, for those us who have chosen pro-democracy activism, know full well the consequences. If one changes course in the struggle, then, he/she had not taken or made thorough introspection. The most and ultimate sacrifice that pro-democracy activists are almost always certain to receive in Africa is death. Others which are equally devastating are family breakup, poverty, ungratefulness, treachery and loneliness.   There are always the temptations to betray or to be betrayed and it is at par with the possibility of being killed by brutal regimes such as those of Congo Brazzaville. How many times have Paul Marie Mpouele been beaten, arrested, humiliated? The last one that, I saw, but the date and the year, I have forgotten, was when he was stripped naked in front of the Brazzaville University Teaching Hospital by Police men instructed by General Jean Francois Ndenguet. But he seems to have forgotten all that. Perhaps, he did not have sufficient moral and financial support from his elders within the opposition. But do they have anything themselves?

People of virtue and Social media

However, within the old corrupt political class or those whose only means of livelihood is politics, there are some honest and loyal ones, who will continue the struggle, come what may, they  will continue to soldier on in defense of human rights, democracy and against corruption and dictatorship. And one of them is Clement Mierassa.  There are certainly many others, however, Clement Mierassa, is a symbol of courage and probity within the Congolese opposition. The above mentioned names or people are also all popular. But Kevin Joseph Diafouka, Evrad Nangho and Dorian Cherryl Mpassi Samba are mostly popular on the web, whereas, Paul Marie Mpouele and Paolo Benazo have been able to transfer their virtual or online popularity on the ground or in the real world of Congolese politics with different fortunes.  Before General Jean Marie Michel Mokoko,who today have been able to transfer social media popularity into the real world, it was Paul Marie Mpouele and Paolo Benazo. However, their transfered popularity remained around Brazzaville and Pointe Noire and also among young people between the ages of 15  and 35. But General Mokoko remains the only politician within the central African sub region who has been able to harness social media popularity with that of the real world and also straddling the young and the old and men and women . Before him, the examples that we had came first from Howard Dean  and then, the greatest success story of the role of social media in the creation or fabrication of a political figure was Barack Obama in the US. However, Dorian Cherryl Mpassi Samba is growing in popularity, especially since his arrest some two to three days before the March 20th 2016 presidential elections. He is the founder or initiator of social media forum on Facebook called: “Debat Citoyen: Tolerance et Respect: Exprimon nous”. His popularity is also the creation of social media.

Different paths

Dorian Cherryl Mpassi was arrested because he dared criticize the conducts of the pre-presidential elections.  Paul Marie Mpouele and Paolo Benazo began their political trajectory together. They have now chosen different paths, similar to what happened in Ivory Coast between Ble Goude and Guillaume Soro. The first won for a while, whereas, the second’s own victory was laborious. However today, he (Guillume Soro) is savoring the victory of loyalty and risky political gamble on the side of Alassane Dramane Ouattara. He is currently the speaker of the Ivorian parliament, while Ble Goude is in jail at The Hague. However, while waiting to see who will laugh best or last, between Paolo and Paul Marie, it seems that, it is Paolo who is wining, and this sounds like the 1958 bet, between Felix Houphouet Boigny of Ivory Coast and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.

Kwame Nkrumah versus Félix Houphouet Boigny

Both leaders loved Africa but differently. Paolo Benazo and Paul Marie Mpouele are both patriotic Congolese with deep interest in politics. The first (Felix Houphouet Boigny) believed in an Africa that must be allied to France, whereas the second (Kwame Nkrumah) believed in an Africa that counted and relied first on itself, before counting on others. And for a while, the first was winning, but at the end, it was the second who won or who made the rightful choice.  Today, thanks to Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana is a stable democracy and amongst the best performing economies on the continent, while Ivory Coast in spite all its glitters, is still very much dependent on France. Ivory Coast’s future is attached or dependent on what happens in France, whereas Ghana’s future might be uncertain, because she is young and still finding its feet politically and economically. But Ghana, unlike Ivory Coast, have the certainty, depending on what and how Ghanaians wants their country to be. Ghana shows or symbolizes confidence in the capacity of black people to manage things on their own, than to be dependent on people who have no respect or consideration for black people, in spite some of their smiles or pretensions to the contrary. I don’t know who is going to be the Felix Houphouet Boigny or the Kwame Nkrumah of Congolese politics between the two rivals.  And the most puzzling now is that, now that, they have both chosen by default the same trajectory, I am afraid, they will both end up like Felix Houphouet Boigny, dependent on France  or in this case, dependent on Denis Sassou Nguesso.
Former youth leader

Mpouele is( was, because he has since been suspended) currently the coordinator of an organization known in French as le Front Republicain Pour le Respect de L’ordre Constitutionelle et L’alternance Democratique 2016 or in English: Republican Front for the Respect of Constitutional Order and Democratic Change 2016, abbreviated in French as FROCAD.  Before assuming that function, he was first the leader of the youth wing of l’Union Patriotique pour le Renouveau National, or the National Patriotic Union for Renewal of Mathias Dzon, abbreviated in French as UPRN. As the youth leader of UPRN, he was harassed, humiliated and thrown in jail on several occasions by the Police of General Jean Francois Ndenguet. After UPRN, Paul Marie Mpouele flirted with Roger Nzaba and his PPC party and later on, they(Paul Marie Mpouele) created the PJP along with the rising political professional who is non other, than the formidable Paolo Benazo. The taciturn and determined young man is also a force to be counted upon in Congo now and in the future.  His courage and loyalty to the opposition in spite the difficulties created by the government and opportunities offered him by the same government to carpet cross, is a quality worthy of praise in a country where politicians are known to be fickle. Although he is a political maverick within the opposition, he has the meritto be amongst those who are fighting against injustice and are promoting democracy in a country, where there is selective openness and selective democracy.

Judas Iscariot

But in spite all the praise aforementioned, Paul Marie Mpouele has turn out to be the Judas Iscariot of the opposition. I don’t know whether it is out of poverty that he  betrayed or whether, he had been hiding his true self for such as long time and as such, has betrayed too many pro-democracy activists. Questions now needs to be asked about all the phony arrests that had taken place within the pro-democracy rank, before his exposure. Was he the mule ?In fact, Paul Marie Mpouele’s action supports what I have always sadly thought about most civil society oppositions and political  leaders of the opposition in the Congo: old and young. Remember, he was the coordinator of an organization known in French as le Front Republicain Pour le Respect de L’ordre Constitutionelle et L’alternance Democratique 2016 or in English: Republican Front for the Respect of Constitutional Order and Democratic Change 2016, abbreviated in French as FROCAD. In reality, he became the coordinator after he brought in money to finance the mega opposition rally of September 27th 2015.

What most opposition leaders, namely: Mathias Dzon, Claudine Munari,Clements Mierassa, Guy Romain Kinfossia, Okombi Salissa,  Pascal Tsaty Mabiala, Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas and all other members the opposition, did not know was that, their mega meeting was financed by the government through General Jean Francois Ndenguet and Colonel Thomas Bakala Mayinda.  And it was Paul Marie who was the middleman. What Paul Marie Mpouele told other members of the opposition was that, the money that, he brought to finance the mega anti government rally, was given by the French government, to help them to oust Denis Sassou Nguesso from power.  And it was where the English adage: he who pays the piper dictates the tune aptly applied. He he brought the money, he was given the coordination or leadership of the movement. And it was also exactly what, the government had been long looking for, a mole within the opposition. When he was confirmed as leader of the aforementioned coalition, he went and confirmed his betrayal the opposition to both General Jean Francois Ndenguet and Thomas Bakala Mayinda. It is not known whether, he gave up himself  easily or  whether he was attracted through other means.  Such as family ties or through a woman or women. What is certain is that, he became a mole within the opposition. It is reported within the opposition circle that, General Jean Francois Ndenguet and Colonel Thomas Bakala Mayinda gave him a phone that, he always turned it on, whenever there was a meeting of the opposition. Members of the opposition claim that, Paul Marie Mpouele had two mobile phones and a third was given to him by General Jean Francois Ndenguet and Thomas Bakala Mayinda and it was that third phone of treachery that, he always brought with him and turned it on whenever he attended meetings with his erstwhile friends.

In so doing, the regime was aware of all the plans that, the opposition had. As already mentioned, Paul Marie Mpouele was the one who brought money to sponsor the anti government rally. But his sponsors, the government through: General Jean Francois Ndenguet and Thomas Bakala Mayinda never knew that, the anti-government rally was going to be successful. When the September 27th 2015 rally of the opposition was successfully held, the government and his sponsor: General Jean Francois Ndenguet and Thomas Bakala Mayinda panicked. They discovered that, they have created a monster out of their pride, ignorance and failed intelligence gathering, to have known that, Congolese were fed up of Denis Sassou Nguesso. Congolese opposition only lacked the financial means to drive away Denis Sassou Nguesso from power. General Jean Francois Ndenguet and Colonel Thomas Bakala Mayinda   had to use Marie Mpouele again. This time around, in a reverse role, he was the one that, the government used to cancel follow up meetings through communiqués that were read on the state owned media. Paul Marie Mpouele, who was the enemy number one of Jean Francois Ndenguet, became close to his enemy and the state media, especially the national TV called Tele Congo, suddenly allowed him to be the guest of programmes.

Poor Paul Marie Mpouele  who was not able to eat, suddenly bought a brand new RAV 4 SUV popular known in Congo as “merci Monsieur”. RAV 4 SUV, is car bought by most corrupt politicians in Congo to their mistresses after having taken them to Dubai and opening them a boutiques upon their return in Brazzaville. It is a good car, but with a bad reputation in Brazzaville. Paul Marie Mpouele was also able to pay communiqués on private Televisions stations to break the momentum of the anti government protests. He did not know how to hide his treachery, for he suddenly began acting like most nouveau riche. However, the man in the opposition who discovered the double game of Paul Marie Mpouele was Andre Okombi Salissa. But the opposition was ashamed to expose him, because the population would have known that, they were poor at intelligence gathering. Paul Marie Mpouele acted as the biblical Judas Iscariot, by selling the opposition to the government. Paolo Benazo had always told me that, Paul Marie Mpouele was not a serious person, I never believed him, until his treachery was exposed by Andre Okombi Salissa. He is suspected to have sold the opposition for the sum of FCFA 80 million, excluding the sum that, he contributed in the hosting of the most successful anti-government rally in Congo since 1997.

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