Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Congo Brazzaville:Women are like cola nuts

Maurice Nguesso, an Mbouchi patriarch, once told me: “women are like cola nuts. You don’t eat them alone, you must share”. It might explain the reason why he has several wives and several children. His younger brother might officially have one wife, but he has several children from different women. This is the depressing behavior that most Congolese across the natural geographic and linguistic divide have copied. While in Brazzaville, I was startled to discover that, a young journalist working for MNTV had also copied the trend and had three wives. And when I tried to find out, I discovered that, he was not the only one. He was just 30 and a native BasCongo who lives in the northern Brazzaville neighbourhood of Ngamakoso. But the Congolese government officials have done more than considering women as mere cola nuts. To most government officials in Brazzaville, Women have become trophies that are exhibited after seizure from a political rival. Northerners, seems to have succeeded in destroying an entire generation from 1968 till date, as claimed by the Congolese diplomat.

Uniquely Congolese

Whatever the above, there is something uniquely Congolese that acts like a magnet. Anyone who has travelled to Congo can’t explain the attraction of a country that has little or nothing to offer besides pleasure and leisure. The country certainly has great potentials but stifled by those currently governing her. However, once you set foot in Congo, you can’t leave or you don’t want to leave. Perhaps it is the way in which their leaders speak, which is a mixture of an educated French man and a Congolese noble, which gives a false vision of the country. The Congolese educated man and politician who is member of the ruling PCT party, speaks in a slow, savvy and subtle refinement, which gives an illusion of seriousness. Perhaps the other magnet or attraction of the country is the unique sensuality and unbridle sexuality of their women. These mixtures and perhaps others can make one not to forget the country easily. 

The Republic Congo: At the image of the retrograde culture of the northerners

According to the diplomat, Congolese in general, not only girls or women are not to be blamed for being lazy and perverse in their ways of life.  He continued: “They are at the image of the Mbouchis governing the country, who have evaluated their retrograde traditions and culture into a way of life and which has sadly been adopted by the government and Congolese people”.  While the Congolese diplomat that I met in Washington DC seems to have an implacable hatred for Marien Ngouabi and most northerners, which made me to take some of the points and observations he made with some circumspections, there are nonetheless some aspects or some points that, he raised during our conversation that, seem in my opinion that, he was not exaggerating. This had to do with the aspects of non respect for women which seems preponderant among people from the greater north and in chief, the Mbouchis. Although Congo is a majority Christian country, the paradox is that, the Mbouchis in power have made polygamy official. Perhaps they have done so for reasons earlier mentioned. But intelligent as they sometimes are, especially when it comes to do despicable things, the governing Mbouchi push for polygamy in Congo was wrapped and marketed as promotion and respect for African traditions. They sold it that way because of the strong opposition from the largely Christian greater south and evangelical churches.  

It may also explain why, they never made mentioned in their project that, it was the transposition of a retrograde culture practiced mostly in Oyo and Edou.Whatever reasons may have motivated the current system to encourage polygamy, it must once again be pointed out that, in the greater south, because of the influence of the Protestant brand of Christianity and extreme westernization, polygamy has been almost wiped-out or is marginal. By contrast, polygamy is still wide spread in the greater north, because of under education, the dominant influence of animism and Catholicism. Some Mbouchi cadre who are manning the mantle of power in Brazzaville could employ all subterfuges to justify the misogyny on women in Africa and in Congo in particular, but the truth in my humble opinion is that, most Congolese men, especially northerners of the minority ruling Mbouchi tribe of President Sassou Nguesso seems to have very little consideration for women. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Was Marien Ngouabi a Womanizer?


Some Congolese elite, in particular those from the greater north are known to be vengeful, susceptible and inveterate womanizers. However, that was what the Diplomat that I met in Washington DC told me. He even went the extra mile in telling me or in accusing Marien Ngouabi as the mentor of all the excesses practiced by those currently ruling Congo. He added: “Marien Ngouabi was also the one who introduced and officilaized the immoral trend in the country, whereby, rich and powerful Congolese snatch the wives of poor and weak Congolese.” The Congolese diplomat supported his claim with this example: “Marien Ngouabi’s widow, Celine, was grabbed from a teacher in Dolisie and he (Marien Ngouabi’s) banned the said teacher from setting foot in Brazzaville”. He also told me: “Marien Ngouabi was a womanizer, who inspired his brothers now ruling, in the bestial manners in which they are reacting, by getting married to several women, especially under aged girls”. He went ahead: “in order to justify their bestiality and refusal to align to modernity, northerners now governing the country have encouraged polygamy by invoking African traditions”.  And he concluded: “the reality is that, since they are rich, wicked, undereducated and greedy, marrying several wives is their only means to exhibit their wealth and political power and also another astute method for them to launder their ill gotten wealth”.  How? I asked. He replied: “Because by getting married to several women and this done officially and also unofficially, it gives the individual or individuals, the opportunity to open several bank accounts using the names of his official wives and also the names of the relatives of their wives. This way, he or they can easily evade control at home, but mostly abroad: Western Europe and USA”.


He also told me that: “Marien Ngouabi had vowed to revenge all northerners who were killed during the 1959 civil war”. However, he added: “even though Marien Ngouabi was evil, he was different from most northerners who are savages and uneducated, for he was well educated and also had some flashes of humane behaviors”. But he never told me what humane acts Marien Ngouabi did. He concluded: “what southern Congolese will never forget is that, when Marien and his northerners came to power, they, at Marien’s request and inspiration, decided to purge the civil service of the most competent southern civil servants to be replaced by incompetent northerners. Marien Ngouabi also supervised and encouraged the killing of southerners who were cadres or who were officers in the army”. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Congo Brazzaville: Why are Northerner Congolese( Mbouchis) Stereotypical viewed?

Stereotypical views

The 1959 Mpila tragedy, did not only divide the country, it also consolidated the stereotypical views that, southerners, and especially its educated elite, had always nursed against northerners. Most southerners think that, the greater north of Congo is a worthless expand full of uneducated “savages”, who are only capable to work in the army not as officers but in the position of rank and file. Some southerners also think that, Northerners are not also worthy to work in the civil service. The other negative perception or cliché that, southern Congolese have toward people of the greater north are that, they are animists, lazy, pernicious, immoral and culturally and religiously adrift. There are many things that differentiate southern Congolese from their northern counters one of them being polygamy. While polygamy is widespread in the country,  some southerners that I spoke to claim that, those who practice it the most are people from the north, in particular the Mbouchi. Another personal observation even though some southerners have backed it in their conversations with me, is that, the proportion of northerners who contract civil marriages and register or establish birth certificates for their new born is lower in than in the greater south.


Regarding the contemporary Congolese society’s penchant for debauchery that affects Congolese women and men, the diplomat also told me that: “Congolese women, in particular and the country’s general demise began in 1968 and not 1979 under Sassou Nguesso, as it is commonly claimed”. He added: “no real patriot can have any praise for Marien Ngouabi”. He continued: “Marien Ngouabi was an incompetent and tribal oriented leader, who covered his administrative weakness and ineptitude through populist actions”. He concluded on the latter statement by declaring that: “one of the many cover ups of Marien Ngouabi was when he went and started teaching at the University and people applauded”. And he asked me this question: “he was a lecturer at the University, which now bears his name, isn’t it, but when did he find time to focus on governance?”

Origin of tribalism and cronyism

On tribalism that has gripped the country, he told me:”Congolese seems to have the propensity of almost always accusing Sassou Nguesso for everything evil, although he has perfected and transformed tribalism, the vicious plans of the north to benefit only him, his family and his Mbouchi tribe, he is not the master or the one who has elevated tribalism in to an art”. He went on: “Sassou Nguesso is just the disciple of the prince of evil that Marien Ngouabi was”. He concluded: “Marien Ngouabi was the one who began what is known today in Congo as “Yaka noki noki” or a metaphor for tribalism”. “Yaka noki noki” to be clearer, is the act of bringing your brother/sister or tribal brother/sister to come and occupy a post, even if he or she is not competent. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Congolese culture: Politically or tribally motivated?

Politically or tribally motivated?

And this question: “Was the carpet crossing of the Mosendjo MP, politically motivated or tribal? He did not give me a straight forward answer. He said: “in Africa, people voted then and even now, based more on tribal and regional affiliations than the substance or political programme of candidates or political parties and Congo, is not different”.  He continued: “Fulbert Youlou, a southern politician won because of what I have mentioned earlier and also because the south was and is still more populated than the north”. He concluded this way: “Jacques Opangault was a veteran politician from the north who could not understand why he always lost to political leaders of the south, especially to Felix Tchikaya and then to Rev Father Fulbert Youlou. He was so aggrieved, to a point that, he wanted northern Congo to be attached to present day Central African Republic, but it was President Charles De Gaulle who discouraged him”.

How the greater southern Congolese Caucasus was formed

The southern Congolese diplomat narrated to me another story, which might also explain why in the Republic of Congo, as you have already read, there are no cardinal points. A Congolese is either from the north and speaks Lingala or from the south and speaks Kikongo. Lingala and Kikongo are what I referred to earlier as the supra-tribes. He said: “when Jacques Opangault lost in 1959, he mobilized northerners in Pointe Noire and also in Brazzaville, in particular around the Mpila neighbourhood against the victory of Youlou”. At the Mpila neighbourhood, he added: “a pregnant woman from the south, first believed to be an ethnic Lari, was killed in an atrocious manner”.  He gave me the graphic description: “Her stomach was split open and her lifeless baby taken out”.  He continued: “It was claimed that, the assassins were northerners, instigated by Jacques Opangault”. And according to the same diplomat: “the killing of the pregnant woman, sparked a polarized civil war, pitting the northerners, generally known as the Bagalas or people who speak Lingala, against the BaCongo or people who speak the Kikongo language”.

How Lingala and Kikongo became the supra-tribes

It should be pointed out that, in the south as well as in the north, there are many other languages or dialects spoken by the various tribes. Some like the Tekes are found and spoken in 8 of the 12 regions of the country, albeit with some nuances.  However, Lingala or Kikongo dominates because they were encouraged by colonial masters, especially by missionaries. Regional identification influenced by religion first and secondly by politics cemented the division and also solidified the domination of Lingala and Kikongo. And still according to the Congolese diplomat based in DC: “it was later on discovered that, the assassinated woman was not a BaCongo or a Lari to be precise, but an ethnic Bembe from the Niari region. This sad news, widen the enemies of northerners beyond the BasCongo”.  Therefore, the above was how an unfortunate situation united the divides people of greater southern Congo. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Congolese Cultural values

In the chapter on: “People that I have met”, you have read that, there were very few women occupying top positions in all walks of life in Congo. And throughout my stay, I did try to find out the reason why, while equally comparing Congolese women, in particular the young, with those of neighbouring Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The age bracket of Congolese girls/women that attracted my attention was between 18 and 35 and my conclusion, which will be developed below is grim. This chapter also focuses on Congolese men who are governing the country and their “special thirst”, which has given birth to a “unique culture” that has destroyed the country: socially, politically and economically. How has the current political and business elite almost all belonging to the ruling PCT, ruined Congo? An attempt to respond to the latter question will be given below.

The ideologue of destruction
According to one Congolese diplomat that I met in Washington DC: “Marien Ngouabi is the ideologue of the destruction of the Congolese state, no matter how venerated he has become today, in particular, since his assassination in 1977, he is responsible for the demise of the system: Socially, Politically and economically”.  How? He went on: “Marien Ngouabi was the man who masterminded the 1967 and 1968 coup d’états that overthrew Alphonse Massamba-Debat. Everything changed negatively from the Marien Ngouabi ethnic or tribal oriented coup d’état. That coup d’état was repackaged as an ideological rectification, but in reality, it was a tribal based coup, engineered by northern officers who felt among other grievances that, they were being down-looked by the well educated southerners”. He added: “The other unacknowledged truth behind the Marien Ngouabi coup d’état was that, it was also a political hangover from a pre-independence dispute: pitting a southern elite and politician, Reverend Father Fulbert Youlou against a northern elite and politician, Jacques Opangault”. He concluded: “Northern elite have never accepted the fact that, the first president of Congo came from the south. They think that, they were short changed by Fulbert Youlou. Hence, Congo began its independence, with a tribal war, which has divided the country since 1959”. 

Causes of the first civil war

Still according to the same former Congolese diplomat who now resides in Washington DC as a political refugee: “if Congo is not only destroyed socially, politically and economically as it currently is, but also  polarized along two supra-tribes: Lingala and Kikongo it is because of Marien Ngouabi.” He insisted: “the cause of the civil war of 1959 was because Jacques Opangault, who was the prime minister at that time with a small majority, could not accept the lost of his post to Fulbert Youlou”. He went on: “Jacques Opangault, lost because an MP from Mosendjo carpet crossed to opposition leader, Fulbert Youlou. This simple move made Fulbert Youlou to become Congo’s first president at independence from France in 1960”.