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”.