Pierre Ngolo MP: he is the secretary general of the ruling Congolese Workers Party abbreviated in French as PCT. He became the unexpected secretary general of the ruling party by the wish of the president of the Republic who is the chair of the party. This happened in 2011, at the end of the extraordinary congress of the party, which also set the ground work, for the demise of the left leaning party created by Commandant Marien Ngouabi. Pierre Ngolo who is a secondary school teach by profession, was until his appointment as secretary general, one of the administrators at the national assembly and also a member of parliament for Ouenze. He took over from Mr Isidore Mvouba, who was the interim secretary general. Because of the proximity of Isidore Mvouba to the president and also for the need to give or create a regional balance, many observers had thought that, Isidore Mvouba would be confirmed into the function of secretary general of the ruling party. And the fact that, Mvouba was not confirmed to the post of secretary general of the ruling party has made those same observers to conclude that, president Denis Sassou Nguesso did not have confidence in Isidore Mvouba, who is one of his most loyal supporters. The 2011 extraordinary congress of the ruling party which was held to nominate or chose the successor of late Ambroise Noumazalaye, who was the last charismatic and influential figure of the Communist oriented party.
Angling to lead
The 2011 extraordinary congress of the PCT had an impressive array of high profile candidates angling to lead one of the country’s biggest political formations. Those who wanted to succeed the late Ambroise Noumazalaye were: Rudolph Adada, former minister of foreign affairs and corporation and current minister of transport, Andre Okombi Salissa MP and former minister of basic education, Henri Djoumbo, minister of forestry economy and the then interim secretary general, Isidore Mvouba MP. Others who had nursed the secret plans to become secretary general were: Michel Ngakala, who is the current deputy secretary general in charge of organization and Senator Oba Aponou. The Irony in it was that, even though all those above mentioned were close allies of the president, none had the support of the president of the Republic. For the president is not only egocentric, he is a man who is very suspicious and yields easily to conspiracy theories. Furthermore, Denis Sassou Nguesso wanted at the head of the ruling party, someone that he could manipulate easily. In short, Denis Sassou Nguesso wanted someone who did not have any personality or national political ambitions especially that, he was already nursing plans to elongate his stay at the helms of the affairs of the state. Pierre Ngolo MP was therefore his wild cat pick for the post of secretary general and also an important link, whenever he will start strategizing to change the constitution of the country.
Roles of Pierre Ngolo
Pierre Ngolo played two roles on behalf Denis Sassou Nguesso. What is not known is whether it was willful or not. The first was that, Pierre Ngolo was used by Denis Sassou Nguesso in order to neutralize all the aforementioned ambitious friends of his. The second role that he was needed was to serve as a fuse and straw man at the same time. Denis Sassou calculated that, in case pressure from the international community was intense against his term elongation, his next plans was to call for an extraordinary congress of the ruling party, that will enthrone his son Denis –Christel Sassou Nguesso as presidential candidate in 2016. In this strategy, the president needed someone who is not strong willed and who has less political credibility and Pierre Ngolo, was the best pick.
Denis Sassou Nguesso & the 1989 UTA airliner bombing
In fact, President Denis Sassou Nguesso had never had plans to leave power and even in 1992, he conceded defeat to Pascal Lissouba simply because, he was under pressure from late President Francois Mitterrand, following Denis Sassou Nguesso’s alleged complicity with Muammar Gaddafi in the bombing of French UTA airliner over the Tenere desert in Niger in 1989. It is also reported within power circle in Brazzaville that, in the Libya and Chad war over the northern Chadian territory of band Aouzou, Denis Sassou Nguesso was on the side of Libya. And since Colonel Gaddafi was a friend of Colonel Denis Sassou Nguesso, Libya’s leader, decided to send Libyan terrorists or bomb experts to Brazzaville to plant a bomb in a UTA flight that was to fly to Paris via several African capitals. And one of the stops of UTA was Ndjamena, the capital of Chad. And in Ndjamena, President Hissene Habre had to board that plane because, he was going to Paris, France. The Libyan plan was that, the plane will take off and explode out of Chadian territory, killing in the process the Chadian leader who was viscerally opposed to Libyan expansionism and who had inflicted heavy defeats on Libyan forces.. Meanwhile in Brazzaville, Denis Sassou Nguesso who had given his approval and supported the Libyan plan to kill Hissene Habre , did inform three Congolese of his plans. They were: Senator Oba Apounou, General Norbert Dabira and Auxence Ickonga, who was the third African director of Air Afrique.
However, since Auxence Ickonga was a friend to late President Mobutu, he (Auxence Ickonga) decided to inform Mobutu. And Mobutu in turn decided to inform Hissene Habre, asking him not board the UTA flight from Brazzaville to Paris via Ndjamena. On that, same flight, several Congolese lost their lives amongst them, the daughter of trade-unionist, Bokamba Yagouma. It also explained the reason why, Bokamba had a vitriolic anti Denis Sassou Nguesso approach in the 90s. When the French discovered the implication of Denis Sassou Nguesso in the UTA crash, they decided not support him in 1992 against Pascal Lissouba. It was Paris own way to punish their protégé. It is also reported that, when Denis Sassou Nguesso discovered that, it was Auxence Ickonga, who leaked the secret to Mobutu, Auxence was allegedly poisoned by Congo’s president using a woman whose name can’t be mentioned here on.
Case De Gaulle
I have met with Pierre Ngolo, three times. The first time was at the official home or resident of the French ambassador located in the southern neighborhood of Brazzaville called BasCongo. And the name of the official home of the French ambassador in Congo is called Case De Gaulle. The old colonial building that still has the burst of the French leader, is said to be where he spent some time, when Brazzaville doubled as capital of French equatorial Africa and also capital of the free France or in the French language: France Libre. At that time, France was occupied by Nazi Germany. On that day at Case de GAULLE, Pierre Ngolo was in the company of Michel Ngakala, the organizing secretary general of the ruling party. Immediately he saw me, he verbally attacked me or should I put it mildly, aggressively questioned. He told me: why do you hate us? I replied: I do not hate you or your party. And I added: I work for the elder brother of the President. How come I will hate you or your party? I am only doing my job and nothing else. I concluded: what I want you people to do is to be closer to the reality of the people’ and when that, is done, you will see that, the PCT will govern Congo for about 71 years just as the PRI or the Revolutionary Institutional Party has done in Mexico.
Little mastery of international affairs
The PRI is a member of the international Socialist whereas, the Congolese ruling party, the PCT, which is a left leaning political formation, is not a member. Furthermore, the membership of the PRI to the International Socialist movements dates back to 1910, which is the year of the Mexican Revolution. It also attests to the left leaning credentials of the PRI, a testimony that, the Congolese ruling party can’t show or justify. According to the online dictionary Wikipedia, it was the 40th president of Mexico by name: Plutarco Elias Callas; who was born on the 25th of September 1877 and who died on the 19th of October 1945, who in 1929 gave the PRI, it proper left leaning orientation, through his populist rhetoric. But I was surprised that, the secretary general of the ruling party, a left leaning party, whose slogan was everything for the masses, never knew what PRI stood for nor where it was located on earth or even if it ever existed. Pierre Ngolo’s reaction confirmed what I have always thought about those ruling Congo and also made me to be more circumspect about the academic and current affair capabilities. But I was nonetheless very happy, when he asked me in French: le PRI, c’est quoi encore M. le journaliste? Or in English: what is the PRI all about Mr Journalist? I replied: PRI is a long standing ruling party in Mexico and they had governed the country for 71 years.
At some point, they lost, because they began a war against the Catholics and that war was called the Cristero war. From there, I confirmed within me that, the secretary general of the ruling party had little mastery of international affairs and I put doubts his Socialist credentials. What I noticed with Pierre Ngolo was that, he was arrogant and self confident because he knew he had the support of the president and cared very less about what the people said or thought about him or the party that, he was steering. I proposed or suggested to him that, I would like to have an interview with in my live TV programme called La Grande Interview. To which he did not accept, but only replied in French: pourquoi pas or why not in English.
The second time that I met with him was on the 25th of March 2014, at 11am. It was a Tuesday. It was on the 4th floor of the rented headquarters of the ruling party. I met him and we talked about my proposal made to him on Sunday March 23rd at Case De Gaulle. But what I did for him, I had never done that, before with any of my guest. I wanted to show him that, I was not against him, the ruling party or the president as the destructive rumor mill have been churning out against me within the ruling party in their plot to kill. I gave him a questionnaire and even told him the points on which, I will focus on should he accept to be the guest of my programme. I did as already mentioned, because I wanted to show him that, contrary to what they have been thinking, I was not against them. But it was a mistake as it turned out. What I had learn from my experience in Congo is that, you must be yourself no matter what people may say, especially when you know that, what you are doing is correct. Furthermore, mindful that, my programme was widely watched, I wanted to give them a positive image.
But while I was in his office, what he first told me, after welcoming me in his office was this: you are here in my office with a diary from the French embassy. His reaction was because I was holding a diary and it was a gift that, the French embassy gave to many personalities. I am sure, that, he also had one. And he added: the French that, you so love are not only our enemy but the enemy of Africans. He went on: The French hate us. I found his reaction strange, for a senior member of a party that came to power through French support. It was unfair to have such francophobia. From his reaction, I now understood where the rumor making rounds that, I was a French spy came from. In Congo, I had been labeled an agent of the CIA and also an agent of the DGSE, the French intelligence service. This name tag was prepared by some elite within the ruling party, whose aim was to blackmail, since they were afraid and did not like my way of doing investigative journalism. I saw firsthand what Jean Bruno Richard Itoua had told me. For Mr Jean Bruno Richard Itoua had told me and as already mentioned earlier that, Congo was a country of professional conspiracy theorists and specialists in blackmail. That is, the strategy of destruction and smear campaign that was deeply ingrained the mindset of Congolese political elite. I also knew that, my character was destroyed beyond repair, but as the saying goes here: a dead person is not afraid of the coffin. I was already a dead man walking in Congo because of my job.
Then it also down on me that, even though the ruling party was not affiliated to the International Socialist, it was still nonetheless a socialist and Marxist oriented party, at it base and at as such, she was naturally inclined to conspirationalist and character assassination. At the end of my meeting with Pierre Ngolo, we nevertheless agreed for a date for our interview. But it was very difficult to have him respect his own programme. It was thanks to the personal persuasive aptitudes of Arlette Soudan-Nonault, his former special adviser, who succeeded to him to accept or respect the promise that he had made to me. However, what really made him to accept to be the guest of my interviewing programme, called La Grande Interview, was a lie that I said to both him and to Mrs. Arlette Soudan-Nonault. I aware that both knew that, Pierre Ngolo had little or no legitimacy within the party, especially amongst party cadres. They both knew that, without the president of the republic imposing him, he stood no chance of ever getting at the top of the ruling party. I also knew that, he was the political foe of Isidore Mvouba, the former interim secretary general.
My lies or bluff paid off
I also knew that, they mutually hate each other to point that, they almost exchange blows during one of the meeting of the political bureau of the party. Mindful of all the above, I called him one day and told him that: I have waited for too long for you to grant me an interview. And since you have refused or not you are not interested, Mr Isidore Mvouba is ready to come and you must know that, after she speaks, your legitimacy will be gone. I also called Arlette Soudan-Nonault and repeated what I had said to Pierre Ngolo and she exclaimed and told me: never mind, he will come. While she had little or no respect for Pierre Ngolo, she hated Isidore Mvouba equally. However, she had never told me why she did not like Isidore Mvouba. My guess is that, she was not certain of Isidore Mvouba’s loyalty to the president who is also her uncle. She thinks that, her uncle must still rule the country because, there a still a lot of old wounds that needs to be healed before he leaves. She told me that, in case the president leaves power, the country will be plunged into another civil war. What she failed to say was that, it is also because most dictators have wiped around them and within the country any form of competence and credible opposition, is also the reason why after them, there is always chaos. But what is interesting is that, my lies or bluff paid off. He accepted and came for the interview on condition that, it should be a recorded programme. I also accepted and that was the second concession that I did for them and which I had never done to others.
Null and void
But the interview revealed that, he was like most cadres of the ruling party. Null and void He was cut off from the reality of ordinary Congolese. He never knew or never had figures of jobs created since 2009, the year, when their candidate now president was re-elected on the promise of massive job creation. The reality was that, besides civil service jobs, they had created nothing. Unemployment and poverty was high. The health and education system broken and even culture an area where Congo used to excel was moribund. He was the secretary general of a party that did not even pay staff who worked with them. The interview exposed the ruling party to a point that, Jean Michel Odzocki, former minister of sports and official spokesman for the ruling party came over to me after the interview and pleaded that, I should carry out some editing on places where the secretary general made monumental gaffs. I accepted. And it was the third concession that I made to the ruling party because of the intervention of Mr. Odzocki, who was a former journalist by profession and also a friend. I did all this to prove to them that, I was not hostile to them but it did not save me when they decided to attack and gang raped my younger sister and also expelled me when I wanted to protest. I have learned from my experience in Congo that, you must be yourself.
When you are sure that, what you are doing is correct, don’t change course in spite criticism or pressure. This is so because, your critics have already made up their minds no matter how you change to please them, they won’t change. Pierre Ngolo is a proud man whose accession at the head of the party is related to the desire of the president to have someone who is docile and manipulative. It is not based on merit nor for the well being of the ruling party. It is the desire of a president who contrary to appearance doesn’t seem to stand challenges and doesn’t entertain unpredictable people. It might be good for his personal ambition but inimical to the party and also the country. As for Pierre Ngolo, he has no future, for he is not charismatic and he is also devoid of any personality. Under him, the ruling party can’t win nor grow. But he doesn’t care. After all, he did not lobby for the post. All he is interested in is the prestige that comes with the post.