Cephas Germain Ewangui: he is one of the major actors of Congo’s civil society organisations. And he is at the head of two civil society bodies namely: Fédération Congolaise des Droits de L’homme, in French or in English, Congolese Federation of Human rights Defense Group, abbreviated in French as FECODHA and the Forum de la Société Civile pour les Elections Libres et Transparentes or in English, Civil Society Forum for Free, Fair and Transparent Elections, abbreviated in French as FOSOCEL. Cephas Germain Ewangui is an apparently calm, intelligent and sincere looking man, who gives the impression of fighting tooth and nail for the defense and promotion of real democracy and the respect of human rights in Congo. But in reality, this man born on the 28th of May 1963 in Brazzaville, as his Facebook page indicates, is everything but genuine. He is not working for the people. He is working for himself and the government.
Both organizations that he heads are not independent and seldom criticize the excess of the government, when it comes to flagrant human rights violations or abuses. While he passes for a pro-democracy activist and human right defender, his organisations seldom criticizes the government on the wanton arrest, expulsion of journalists or the unjustifiable suspension and closure of media houses in Congo. What he is instead more interested in, is to travel around the world and attend meetings and seminars with the sole aim to prop up the image of the government. In order to trick Congolese and the international community, he sometimes issues lukewarm critical communiqués against the government followed by Press Conferences where pressmen and women are paid and then broadcast widely on state owned media. He is curiously the only head of civil society organization in Congo, who is never arrested and who is strangely always present in the office of General Jean Francois Ndenguet, the inglorious head of the Congolese Police Force. He is also more interested in obtaining influential posts of responsibilities within the Congolese government created National Human Rights Council. As the head of two civil society organizations, he would have normally played middle or meditating roles, by criticizing the positions or excesses of the government and also that of the opposition.
But he is mute and instead plays the role of trying to give a semblance of fairness to the government of Congo. Hence he appears mostly whenever the government of Congo is facing international condemnation for its recurrent human rights abuses, like what is currently going on the south of Brazzaville and the Pool region. The organisations that, he represents falls in line with Congo government’s strategy to eliminate or crowd out real civil society organisations, who are capable or who are denouncing government excesses. Furthermore, the strategy of the Congolese government is that of numbers. They have created several fictitious civil society organisations, foundations and political parties, to give a false impression to the international community, especially western governments that; there is real democracy and freedom of speech in the country. The Congolese government just as some of its citizens, in particular its elite, are professionals in dissimulation. In fact, it is rumored that, his organizations are sponsored by Jean Dominique Okemba, the nephew and special adviser to the President of the Republic. The reason why Jean Dominique Okemba is allegedly sponsoring the civil society organizations of Mr Ewangui, as he does with hundred others is simple. It is to counter the influence of real civil society organizations in the country and whose leaders and members, are often subject of police brutalities and persecution.
I have personally seen him in the office of the former minister of Communications, Bienvenu Okiemy, when he came to plead with the minister to do all he could, in order to permit or facilitate his appointment as second or first vice chair at the Congo’s National Human Rights Commission, which is headed by Jean Martin Bemba. Paradoxically, the government has on several occasions wanted to arrest Mr Bemba, simply because, he wanted to apply to the letter, the rules and regulations of the organization that, he is heading. One of such rules requires independence and strict neutrality. Something the government doesn’t want in practice. Cephas Germain Ewangui, although calm and seemingly intelligent, is sadly amongst the many Congolese, who out of greed are destroying the credibility of civil society organizations and also holding back the progress of democracy and the respect of human rights, simply because, they are supporting the government’s duplicity.
He is a traitor to the honest course and quest for real democracy and the respect for human rights that a majority of Congolese so crave. Because of his treachery, Cephas Germain Ewangui will not have any role to play in a Congo that will be equitable. However, he could have a role, if he confesses of his sins and exposes also those who sponsored him and their tactics and more importantly, expose others like him, who benefited or are benefiting from the inhumane tactics of the government of Denis Sassou Nguesso.