Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Glamorizing America and its racial tolerance

Not all is well in the US

Even though earlier, I seem to glamorize America and its racial tolerance and opportunities that she offered people from all over the world irrespective of race and religion, I quickly pointed out that, my statements or observations didn’t in anyway mean that, there aren’t any problems in the United States. My write up was a fruit of a genuine observations carried out within a specific area.  Regarding my earlier statement on how compassionate and welcoming were Americans, I even added that, perfection was not of this world. This simply meant that, I was and still aware that, America had and still has its share of challenges. But I must still insist that, globally, especially among liberal democracies, America offers more opportunities to foreigners than most.  Whatever its positives aspects, not well in the US and as prove, when I arrived, the country was at the height of record killing of black people by the Police. The wanton killing of Black people also gave rise to a group known as Black lives matters movement, a group denouncing Police violence against black people. Following all the killings, I was afraid of an open confrontation between the Police and Black Youths. It was as if good and evil were at competition in arguably the best country on earth.  It was appalling what was going on regarding the wanton killing of black people. I felt very bad, because I love America and thus consider her to be the symbol of hope for everything positive in liberal democracy around the world. I was more affected negatively by what was going on in the US because, as a journalist and a prodemocracy activist from Congo Brazzaville and Cameroon, I regularly quoted America and in chief, American Police as an example, whenever I wanted to denounce the abuses of the Congolese or Cameroonian Police. Therefore what was going on became fodder to my detractors and all those who abhorred liberal democracy.  Enemies of liberal democracy in the Republics of Congo Brazzaville and Cameroon, quickly zeroed on what was happening to black people in the US who were being mowed down daily by the very American Police that I marketed as paragon of professionalism and human right respect, to water down all my arguments or all what I stood up for.   The reality is that, dictatorial governments like those of Congo Brazzaville and Cameroon, almost always exploits loopholes like those of Police brutalities in the US, to justify their excesses.

Commissions of enquiry

But amid my disappointments, especially at the killing of black people, one thing which struck me positively were investigations that were taking place after every killing of a Blackman and also the media scrutiny that followed after each murder. US media played a major role in exposing the abuses of US Police, a thing which was alien in Congo Brazzaville. What US media did could not happen in Congo Brazzaville because the media in the West African state is everything but independent. The media in Congo Brazzaville is not independent because as severally mentioned earlier, the whole media landscape is either controlled by one family: the Nguessos or people gravitating around the Nguessos and the Congolese government. In the US, amid every dark cloud like the killing of any Blackman, there is a silver lining. This silver lining is symbolized by investigations carried out by the media and the Police. It was another quality which was alien in Congo Brazzaville or Cameroon. And more, those commissions of enquiry set up were not mere formalities to please and appease, as it were more often the cases in both aforementioned West African countries. As I noticed via TV and newspaper reports, in the US, unlike Cameroon and Congo Brazzaville, commissions of enquiry delivered reports that were not satisfactory to any of the concerned parties, but at least, it had some merit. It greatest merits were that, Police officers were tried and prosecuted as opposed to Congo Brazzaville or Cameroon where in spite the summary executions and all kinds of abuses carried out by the Police, nothing is done to the accused or suspects. In both Cameroon and Congo Brazzaville, the equanimity and boldness with which some state security officials do carry out their crimes, was as though they were commandeered by the state.

Charitable and Compassionate American People

Observing Americans

In all fairness, Americans are truly compassionate, charitable and welcoming people. These are aspects marketed or promoted in most American films and media, which are not false or fictions, but an accurate reflection of the United States and its people. American cultural promoters: writers, film producers and musicians, truthfully expose or represent their society or country in their work. The only other country in the world that I know and whose men and women of culture do market or exposes  in their productions the factual faces of their country through their work is Nigeria. Certainly there many other countries around the world whose men and women of culture are their genuine ambassadors, but I have chosen to mention the United States and Nigeria because both are leaders in their world.  The US in the western world or globally and Nigeria is champion in Africa, as their film industry and writers have demonstrated.  As far as Americans are concern, I have noticed that, they are markedly different from other westerners, especially some French people or to be specific, French people living within the Greater Paris Region, which I know very well for having spent more than a decade with them.  But make no mistake, there are equally some extraordinary compassionate, charitable and welcoming French men and women, that I have come across.   I am not in any way saying or writing that, Americans are perfect people or that their country is paradise on earth. Perfection, they say, is not of this world, but in heaven and the preceding saying is justified as recent events in Charlottesville and also the strange reaction from Donald John Trump have established. 

For the world seems shocked to see assertive Nazi groups and other racists marched in broad day and worse, the lukewarm criticism that, the extremists received from the President of the leading liberal democracy in the world has irritated many. What happened in Charlottesville and other US cities demonstrates that, the America has its limitations as will be elucidated more later on. But the truth  remains that, they(US) remains a beacon of hope and  more than others in the world,  she offers greater chances or opportunities to none natives or none nationals. My first focus or evaluating point of the American society was to find out or see how tolerant Americans are. And my evaluating benchmark on how tolerant American people were, was made, whenever, I took or boarded the Washington DC Metro every morning. The Washington DC metro, it is true, is not the United States, but at least, it provided a sample of what to expect or how Americans, in particular the majority White Americans, treated minorities. Hence every morning, as I boarded the DC metro, I first cast wide view in the wagon on which I was to see ethnic composition. And in most cases, in particular the line I boarded, was overwhelming White. But there are equally some lines such as the yellow or blue lines, if am not wrong, that, I sometimes noticed that, the ethnic composition was predominantly African America with pockets or dots or Hispanics, Asian or Chinese and White Americans. Second, while on in the wagon, I start observing how most white passengers reacted at the sighting of blacks and other minorities and vice versa. And here again, I was surprised at how blacks and white were mixing up without any detectable sense of suspicions and tensions in both predominantly white and African American metro lines. Another observation that I made was that, I did not hear the speakers of the subway blaring the cautionary calls of: “beware of pick pockets”, as it was the case in Paris, whenever the CCTV cameras caught  disproportionate presence of people of North African, afro-Caribbean ancestries or Roma people in the subway.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

My fellowship at NED (Part 3)

Assistance from NED staff

While I am happy to have been able to partly expose the corrupt system in Congo Brazzaville and its ring leaders, I must also quickly and humbly state here that, without the help or assistance from Rudy Massamba, Melissa Aten and Chris Walker, my presentation on Kleptocracy won’t have materialized and touched or reached all those it seems to have. Staff of NED latter mentioned assisted me in structuring and also on how to best present all the information that I had on the government of Congo and the ruling Nguesso family. It is not enough to have information, but the way and manner that you want to present it and the objective that you want to arrive at is important. And it is in the last phase that, those I have mentioned were of astonishing help.  And regarding Chris Walker, in my humble opinion, he doesn’t only master Kleptocracy, he perhaps more than others, understands best, the devastating effects that Kleptocracy has inflicted in countries and people where it is practiced. Chris Walker also understands best the necessity of using soft power: blocking bank accounts, travel bans and denying medical treatments or education to children and family members of all those supporting, promoting and sponsoring Kleptocracy. The latter “antidotes” could gradually and effectively crippled or weakened encroached Kleptocratic systems and permit liberal democracy to roll forward in the countries and regions where it is being rolled back. Sadly, no matter the determination and brilliance of Chris Walker and others like him, Kleptocracy can’t be fought and won, if Western governments continue to have double standards, contradictory or conflicting interests and policies toward Kleptocrats around the world.

Coming to America

As already mentioned, I began writing this chapter, on the 1st of August 2016. I was in my final month as a Research Fellow at the NED. It is a fellowship which began on the 20th of January 2016. But I arrived in the United States, precisely in Washington DC on the 19th of January 2016. It was not my first trip in the US. It was my fourth. And on that day, it was not only freezing cold, it had even snowed. I was shivering from cold immediately I left the hall of the Dulles International airport for the parking lot where was stationed the car that came to take me for my Hotel: The Virginian. The person who came to receive me at the Airport was Marlena Papavaritis. She is a wonderful person who seems to be the archetype of what American media and films would want the world to think every American citizen is: humane, generous and friendly. In reality, she was and is still truly humane, generous and friendly as at when I was leaving. 

Denis Sassou Nguesso: A Vicious manipulative man

Even though Denis Sassou Nguesso might not appear to be a firebrand anti-imperialist or rabble-rouser in the shape or character of Robert Gabriel Mugabe, late Hugo Chavas or his successor, Nicolas Maduro, he (Denis Sassou Nguesso)  not only surreptitiously offers moral and financial support to most despots and even liberal democrats as mentioned in the chapter: the Nguesso: The Kleptocratic family, he equally during continental and regional meetings of African head of states and governments, encourages his peers not to yield to western pressures on free speech, democracy and respect for human rights.  This last point, I suspect, could even be supported by Dr Christopher Fomunyuh, deputy Director for Africa at the National Democratic Institute, NDI, who knows best or understands best, how most African despotic leaders do operate. Denis Sassou Nguesso, as you have already read, is a calm but vicious manipulative man, who encourages various members of his family, government ministers and officials, especially officers within the security services to fight each other to their mutual deaths as the arrest and death of Colonel Marcel Nstourou in prison has demonstrated. Colonel Marcel Nstourou’s home was attacked in a spectacular manner in December 2013, under the guise that, he was in possession of weapons and harboring criminals. He was over powered in the gun duel that lasted over 5 hours, arrested, jailed, released on bail and then rearrested. But it was later discovered that all allegations heaped on late Colonel Marcel Nstourou were results of intra service rivalry encouraged by Sassou Nguesso.   

Denis Sassou Nguesso, it is now well known, relish pitting his top ranking military officers against each other. The same practice is done or perpetuated within the government, where he encourages unhealthy rivalries among government ministers. Even families have not been spared of his devilish instinct to divide and destroy. He has divided several families and broken up several marriages. The most recent example is the children of Bernard Kolelas: Guy Brice and Landry. He removed the first from government and replaced him with the second, then dumped the second out of government, after sowing the seed of discontent within the Kolelas family. Denis Sassou Nguesso also breaks up marriages or separates couples by taking the wives of political allies and also rivals or even their daughters. The latter is a specialty of the Nguessos, for one can’t count the number of marriages the president, his elder brother or sons have destroyed.  Sassou Nguesso and his family members in particular his elder brother, Maurice or his son, Denis Christel do all the above in a bid to maintain his grip on power. For they think seizing the wife of an ally or rival or sleeping with the daughter of an ally or rival procures them not only political domination over the country but also prolongs their lives. Furthermore, by sowing the seeds of discords within his own army and security apparatus or within the hierarchy of the ruling party or even destroying families by encouraging adultery and other vices, it only lays credence to the fact; Sassou Nguesso’s lust for power knows no bounds. He is simply the most corrosive figure the country has ever known. Besides his delight to see members of his government or Congolese fighting each other, he also relishes and encourages gossips and salacious life styles. That is why no day passes by in Congo without a story on how one of the Nguessos has slept with the wife or daughter of a political rival or even ally. His governing behavior has bred a culture of suspicions within families and also among friends, hence the existence of a phenomenal breakdown of trust in the country. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

My fellowship at the NED

This part or chapter, like the whole of this book, was written in two continents and in three countries. The idea first began in the Republic of Congo, but was actualized in Cameroon after I was expelled from the former. It was improved in the United States with the additions of this chapter and also that on Kleptocracy, in titled: The Nguessos: the Kleptocratic Family.  It was precisely on the 31st of August 2016 that, I decided to make the aforementioned additions.  However, unlike the other additions and modifications, this chapter was written to show my deep appreciations to two organisations: Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ and National Endowment for Democracy, NED, both have been of great help to me when I was expelled from the Republic of Congo. The first offered me an emergency fellowship that enabled me to leave Cameroon, while the second extended my Research Fellowship beyond the official end date. The extension of my research fellowship permitted me to put in writing what I knew about Kleptocracy in Congo Brazzaville and also share it with US  based NGOs fighting against corruption and human rights abuses in Africa  as well as  officials from the State  and Justice Departments among others. The opportunity to present the latter was done on the 23rd of July 2016 and the theme was: Kleptocracy and it corrosive effects at home and abroad: the example of Congo Brazzaville. And as the preceding chapters have demonstrated, the long reign of Sassou Nguesso has had negative impacts not only in Congo but also beyond: Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

My July 23rd 2016 presentation was held in close door. It was unlike my first, which was focused on social media and had as theme: the role of social media in the promotion of Free Speech and Democracy in Central Africa.  As earlier mentioned, my Kleptocracy presentation was meant to reveal to the world that, Congo Brazzaville is a major player in the galaxy of Kleptocracy on the same level as other well known Kleptocracies such as Azerbaijan, Angola, Equatorial, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.  The Congolese Kleptocracy may regroup several people, but it is led by one family: the Nguessos. And as elucidated in the chapter: The Nguessos: the Kleptocratic family, their stranglehold onto power has had a negative or corrosive impact not only in Congo Brazzaville, but equally abroad:  Central African Republic, DRC and also in Burundi. And in Burundi, a man working at the presidency of Congo, who doesn’t want to be named, confided to me that, Sassou Nguesso offered financial support to Pierre Nkurunziza at the height of that country’s crisis. The aim of the financial support, he told me, was to help Burundi’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza  and his regime to withstand economic sanctions imposed by the European Union and also to resist the internal prodemocracy up rising. While my informant did not offer any proves other than claiming that, monies left Brazzaville for Bujumbura via Dakar to boost up the regime of Pierre Nkurunziza, I don’t have any reason to doubt him. I don’t doubt him because it looks every inch what Sassou Nguesso is capable of doing.  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Congo Brazzaville:Consequences of Denis Sassou Nguesso's long stay in power


There are several adverse effects that the Kleptocracy imposed by Denis Sassou Nguesso has done in the Republic Congo. The first victim of Sassou Nguesso’s long misrule, is Democracy and the second, is the absence of free speech. And because the Nguessos, through Kleptocracy have amassed enormous wealth, they are today present in all aspects of life in country. Furthermore, all gains made in the democratic dispensation of the 90s, which culminated with the holding of the country’s first post independence genuine democratic presidential election have been reversed.  A prove that, democracy in Congo has reversed its progress is that, today, the Republic of Congo is not only a violent dictatorship, she has become a Kleptocracy. Besides the Republic of Benin, Congo was one of the rare countries in French-speaking black Africa that held a sovereign national conference, to discuss and prepare the country from one party rule to multiparty democracy. And as a direct result of holding the sovereign national conference, Congo as already mentioned, held its first post independence democratic general elections that were won by Pascal Lissouba and the PCT, lost its majority in parliament in favour of the UPADS. The other consequences of the long reign of Denis Sassou Nguesso are excessive corruption, immorality and laziness. Furthermore, the excessive accumulation of illicit wealth by the Nguessos equally obstructs the advancement of genuine democracy because they buy political loyalties, precisely by corrupting members of the opposition and civil society organisations.  The trend in Congo Brazzaville of the creation of fictitious political parties and civil society organisations is equally a direct result of manipulations orchestrated Denis Sassou Nguesso and his clan, the Nguessos. Besides using their wealth to destroy genuine opposition political parties, civil society organisations and control the press, they have also bought or are investing massively in the purchase of weapons for the national army and also the Congolese Police Force. By arming the security forces, especially the Congolese Police, which is headed by General Jean Francois Ndenguet, the ruling Nguesso family are shielding or protecting themselves from any eventual uprising from the population. Any attempt by the population to rise or protest the misrule of Denis Sassou Nguesso is violent repressed by a Police force that is known for its brutality and human rights violations. And that partly explained the reason why, major political party leaders of the opposition, civil society activists and journalists are either in jail or banned from holding meetings or carrying out any activity independently.


Kleptocracy is detrimental to democracy and economic development in any country where it is practiced. Sadly, this form of governance is not only practiced in Congo Brazzaville but in almost all countries within the sub region albeit with some variations as already mentioned. While in countries where Kleptocracy is practiced, citizens don’t fold their arms or are resigned, they try as best as they can, to fight against entrenched Kleptocratic values through one form or the other. However, as the examples of the cases of Burundi, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, DRC and Congo has shown, in spite all internal efforts carried out by prodemocracy activists, without the support of the international community, Kleptocratic systems can’t be conquered easily. Hence the fight to end Kleptocracy in Congo Brazzaville can only be successful with the help of the international community and it must not be a country focused fight only, but expanded regionally or in all countries where Kleptocracy exist. If the international community ever decides to fight sincerely and boldly against Kleptocracy, it should have a strategy that is synonymous to casting a wide dragnet around leaders of countries such as Congo, DRC, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola and Chad. This is so because the leaders of the aforementioned countries are those promoting and sustaining Kleptocracy, the most within the region. In my humble opinion the following steps should be used by the international community to weaken and eventually destroy all Kleptocracies that are expanding around the central Africa region:

                        - A name and shame campaigns with the help of the international community should be launched in local and international media, in order to expose Kleptocrats and those supporting them
                        -Kleptocrats and their supporters should be restricted from purchasing properties in western countries. Their families and close family members should equally be restricted from sending their children in western school schools or being given medical treatment in western countries.
                        -The international community should support journalists, journalist trade unions and independent media in the areas of investigative journalism.
                        -The US government must increase its influence in the promotion of liberal democracy in countries targeted by the scourge of Kleptocracy and if necessary, use its military power to overthrow dictatorial regimes and also use military might to enforce liberal democracy, which is the only deterrent against the expansion of Kleptocracy.

-Furthermore, the US should use its influence on France by forcing or compelling her to change her blind eye approach toward Congo Brazzaville and other dictatorships/Kleptocracies within the sub region.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Denis Sassou Nguesso: how he squandered Congo's oil windfall

Denis Sassou Nguesso: Cheerful giver

At the height of his political and financial power and this because of the high cost of Oil and the financial windfall it created, Sassou Nguesso decided to extend his influence beyond Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sassou Nguesso who considers state coffers as if it were his private safe, doled out money in forms of loans to several West African states:  Guinea, FCFA 50 billion, Niger, FCFA 50 billion and Ivory Coast, FCFA 100 billion. Furthermore, while there is no freedom of speech and democracy in Congo Brazzaville, Denis Sassou Nguesso, paradoxically, decided to export multiparty democracy and multiparty elections in other African countries. How? As already mentioned, he promotes or promoted free and faire elections in Central African Republic, even though as already mentioned, he tried to dictates or pull the strings from behind in a bid to dictates the outcome. Sassou Nguesso acted the way he did in Bangui because he doesn’t want the people to decide freely. He wants puppets in Bangui not just because he hates genuine democracy, but more because of his rivalry with Idriss Derby Itno of Chad of the control of Central African Republic. It is also alleged that, Sassou Nguesso sponsored Macky Sall during Senegal’s last presidential elections. The go between or the persons who transported the financial wallet  from Brazzaville to Dakar  were Jean Dominique Okemba, Senegal’s ambassador in Brazzaville and Michel Nguimbi, Congo’s ambassador in Dakar. He is also reported to have supported financially, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in his successful presidential bid in Mali. 

The Republic of Congo-Brazzaville has become too small for Denis Sassou Nguesso; hence his expansion across central and West Africa in a bid to transform some of the countries in dictatorships or to have elected leaders in those countries that are electoral or liberal democracies to be at his beck and call. Because Alpha Conde, Alassane Ouattara, Mamadou Issoufou, Macky Sall and Ibrahim Boubacar Keita partly owes their electoral successes to the financial support they receive or have received from Brazzaville, the aforementioned leaders have become lobbyists for Sassou Nguesso in France, especially among the French Socialist party, that are hostile toward Sassou Nguesso. It is also claimed that, one of the aforementioned leaders contributed in softening Francois Hollande’s initial stands against Denis Sassou Nguesso, especially on his plans to change the January 20th 2002 constitution.


Congo’s President is a Kleptocrat and the business and financial empire that he has built from the proceeds of loot are sometimes difficult to trace or to prove officially belong to Sassou Nguesso and the Nguesso family. However the good thing with Congo-Brazzaville is that, the truth, especially when it comes to illicit money, business or investments owned by the Nguessos and all those gravitating around them are well known by all. Sassou Nguesso claims that, his reason to have changed the January 20th 2002 constitution that barred him from seeking a third mandate was because he wanted to consolidate the country’s democratic experience, is absolutely wrong.  The reality is quite different. He wanted to stay in power because of two reasons: preserve the wealth that his family with his support has amassed and secondly: it was to lay the foundation for his son, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso to succeed him when he leaves office between 2021 or 2023.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Corrosive influence of Sassou Nguesso beyond Congo Brazzaville: the case of CAR

Beyond Congo Brazzaville

Like any other Kleptocracy around the world, Congo’s Kleptocracy led by Denis Sassou Nguesso, wants to extend its influence beyond the borders of Congo Brazzaville. Interestingly or not, he is not the only Kleptocrat within the region with the ambition to extend their powers beyond their respective countries. Obiang Nguema Mbasongo of Equatorial Guinea and Late Omar Bongo of Gabon are the other Kleptocrats who share the same ambitions with Sassou Nguesso. In  the case of Obiang Nguema Mbasongo, his first known attempt at  extending his influence beyond Equatorial Guinea are his  financing  of the so-called pan African media such as Afrique Media and Africa 24 and also  sponsoring the translation of documents at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa from English, French , Arabic or Portuguese  into Spanish. It is Obiang’s own brand of Soft power. Besides the latter, Obiang Nguema Mbasongo is also investing in countries such Liberia by helping to construct in the Monrovia international airport and offering asylum to dictators such as Yaya Jammeh of Gambia. As for late Omar Bongo, when he was at the pinnacle of his political and financial power, he was sponsoring a pan African radio called Africa Number 1 and a pan African television, Telesud. He was also involved in multiple political mediations across Africa, especially in Central Africa Republic and Chad.  Late Omar Bongo was also involved in banking and oil sectors. One of his banking legacies that have outlived him is BGFI Bank SA, which is present in 11 countries in west and central Africa.

Central African Republic

Denis Sassou Nguesso has always wanted to play leading roles on the continent. Hence, he is mediator in various regional conflicts:  Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.  He is also chair of the African Union on the Libyan crisis. Sadly all his mediations in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and even his role in Libya have all failed. In Central African Republic, he doesn’t only want to limit is role as mediator; he equally wants to control how the country’s internal politics is run. For example: during CAR’s last presidential and legislative elections of December 30th 2015 and the run off of February 14th 2016, Sassou Nguesso played a major role in dictating the outcome. How did he proceed? He is reported to have financed three main candidates: President Faustin Archange Touadera, George Anicet Dologuele and Karim Mekasoua. According to one of the participating presidential candidates, Sassou Nguesso sponsored Faustin Touadera and Karim Mekasoua during the first round of the presidential elections. However when his two protégé were defeated in the first round by George Anicet Dologuele, Sassou Nguesso decided to sponsor Mr Dologuele during the second round. Sadly for him, Dologuele was not elected. He did not stop meddling into the internal affairs of Central African Republic with the end of the presidential race. During election within the Central African parliament to choose its speaker, Sassou Nguesso played another major role. From information that I gathered from some participants, when Congo’s President got news that, George Anicet Dologuele could be elected as speaker of parliament at the detriment of his protégé, Karim Mekasoua, he(Sassou Nguesso) dispatched funds to Bangui via an emissary ,  the said sum t were used to corrupt a large number of Central African members of parliament not to vote of Anicet George Dologuele for the post of speaker of parliament. The sponsorship or financial support that Karim Mekasoua received from Sassou Nguesso helped him to defeat George Anicet Dologuele and become the speaker of parliament of Central African Republic. Karim Mekasoua is therefore speaker of parliament in Bangui because of the manipulations or financial influence of Denis Sassou Nguesso. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

How the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, is abused by Sassou Nguesso.

The reasons why the Nguessos & Congolese government are members of EITI

All the ruling Nguesso family and the Congolese government that they(the Nguessos) are dominating want, when they join organisations such as EITI or Publish What You Pay, are the name tags of these organisations and the prestige that they generate. Conversely, they (the ruling Nguesso family and the Congolese government) will never implement the spirit of any of the organisations that she is a member. If the Nguesso family and Congolese government were serious, the regional bureau of EITI in Congo, would  been chaired by someone who is independent and  its board made up of people with the freedom to report honestly and independently, this in order to meet with the standards of EITI. Sadly in Congo Brazzaville, EITI Congo is everything but independent and most of the data that she feeds their (EITI) headquarters are false.

This is how it functions:

To begin with, how can EITI Congo be considered independent and upholds the standard of transparency when its chair, Michel Okoko is close to the ruling PCT party and the ruling Nguesso family?  How can EITI Congo be considered independent, when, most of those who are members of its board are either partner of the government or former members of local NGOs that have been bought over by the government? Worse, reports from EITI Congo on oil and mining companies are bogus.  This is how they are gathered: they are first collected manually with the consent of the companies that they are expected to audit and report accurately on their operations. Normally it would either have been gathered independently before comparing with the official ones. I was once present in the office of Michel Okoko, chair of EITI Congo, when I overheard him (Okoko) make phone calls to the executives of African Oil and Gas Congo, AGOC and Petroleum. In the conversation with the boss of AGOC, Mr Okoko, called the former requesting him to provide the exact reports or figures of the oil production that they (EITI Congo) should put in the report that they were to provide the EITI headquarters and which upon publication will become official regarding African Oil Gas Congo, AGOC activities. In normal circumstances, activities of EITI Congo or its evaluation reports should have been done independently rather than reporting statistics provided by oil and mining companies concern. Another observation that, I made while in Congo Brazzaville and also while visiting the office of EITI in Brazzaville is that, reports from companies in the liquid and solid mineral were collected manually, typed and sent first to headquarters of concern companies. After the evaluated companies have formally approved the information, it will be send back to EITI Congo and they will publish. It is this fictitious reports that don’t reflect the reality of the oil and mining sectors that are sent to EITI headquarters as authentic reports from oil companies operating in Congo Brazzaville. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Why anticorruption organisations can’t catch Brazzaville

Deceiving the world

As mentioned above, the Congolese government uses local and international NGOs to glamorize her cheatings and manipulations. One such organisation used by the Congolese government to deceive the world is EITI. But I wonder whether, EITI, which claims on her web site that, it is an organisation with a global standard, to promote the open and accountable management of Extractive Resources, is aware that, her name is being used or travestied by the Congolese government.  Whatever the abuses committed by the Congolese government with her none respect of the organization’s norms, EITI, nevertheless remains a prestigious organisation that The Republic of Congo is a member. Once again, it is wishful thinking to believe that, Brazzaville respects the standards of EITI. In spite the fact that, the Republic of Congo has succeeded a feat in hoodwinking the entire world with its false statistics in the areas earlier mentioned, what makes me to smile is the easy with which, the ruling Nguesso family is using the very instruments or organisations created to fight against corruption to deceive the world. Hence EITI reports from Congo Brazzaville need not to be taken seriously.   Given the glaring lies and manipulations of the Nguessos and the Congolese government as earlier mentioned, it is also beyond comprehension why the heads of EITI and other organisations with the same objectives can’t figure out that Congo Brazzaville is a deceitful, corrupt, dishonest, crooked and untrustworthy member.

Why anticorruption organisations can’t catch Brazzaville

To the discharge of heads or EITI or Publish What Pay and other western bodies such as the US Department of Energy, Department of Justice, they are unable to discover the deceitful attitude of Congo Brazzaville’s government because there is no logic for a regime that wants to hide things or that encourages corruption, to join organisations that are fighting against corruption. The simple fact that, the Congolese government is the one that solicits membership to the aforementioned organisations is where the tricks played by the Nguessos and the Congolese government lies.  For heads of such organisations think it is out good fate that, Brazzaville wants to join them, hence they can’t easily decipher the malevolent intentions of the Nguessos and Brazzaville government. Once again, by joining organisations such as EITI or Publish what you Pay, Brazzaville easily deceives everybody because all suspicions on her are dissipated. While organisations such as EITI or Publish What You Pay, have genuine objectives to brightened transactions between governments and mining companies, Brazzaville or the ruling Nguesso family have joined these organisations with their own agenda in mind.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Congo Brazzaville: Cesspool of lies and Manipulations

As already mentioned, the ruling Nguesso family and government is a bunch of professional lairs and manipulators. Hence after cheating her way into the Highly Poor and Indebted Countries scheme of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, they did not stop at lying or doctoring their statistics. They have embarked at lying and manipulating all information coming out from all organisations based in the country. Almost all figures coming out of Congo Brazzaville are wrong. The first wrong information from Congo Brazzaville is her population figure and the second wrong or doubtful figure from Congo Brazzaville is its oil production and the revenue generated from the sale of its crude. Even figures of its internal and external debts are wrong because of the opaque web under which she was contracted and executed. There is a reason why the government doesn’t want its people or its international trading partners to know the true figures or statistics on anything especially, its Oil production or the revenue that she generates from the sale of crude. In order to justify the monumental travesty of international norms set up to discourage corruption and encourage and enforce transparency, the Congolese government uses local NGOs. Paradoxically, some NGOs are used by the international community to promote the respect of human rights and also to fight against corruption or to expose corrupt practices of individuals and governments.

But in Congo Brazzaville, as earlier mentioned, in spite all best efforts local NGOs or their representatives in particular, those heading them are either bought over or are too afraid to denounce or publish the true reality about the abuses of the Nguesso family or the Congolese government, as it concerns corruption. Fortunately, mindful of the limitations of local NGOs, the international community has stepped up its efforts by sponsoring local NGOs in a bid to put them beyond want. The international community has also increase the capacity building of activists on the ground. But the latter strategy has not been quite successful, for the mismanagement of Congolese natural resources by the Nguessos has not decreased but instead increased, hence the need for other international NGOs to develop new adaptable tactics in the fight against corruption not only in Congo but in most developing and African countries. One of such internationally created and sponsored NGOs whose expertise  has contributed to expose corrupt practices within the solid and liquid mining sectors is Publish What you Pay. This organisation through various pressure groups and tactics has succeeded in forcing mining companies operating in Africa to publish some parts of their contracts with various liquid and solid mineral producing countries. Besides the Publish and What You Pay group, other global initiative against corruption in countries such as Congo is the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative abbreviated EITI. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sassou Nguesso's Media Obsession: Vision 4 TV and Africanews

Controlling pan African media

Before Africa 24 TV that is based in France could come and cover the March 20th 2016 presidential election, the Congolese government, I was told, owed the French based pan African TV broadcaster the sum of FCFA 1 billion for unpaid adverts. This information was disclosed to me by a management staff that is not authorized to speak to the Press. It is therefore certain that, in order for the French based pan African TV station, Africa 24 to come and cover the March 20th 2016 presidential election and promotes the country as a “paragon of democracy and respect for human rights”; the Congolese government must have settled its past debts and paid another an undisclosed lump sum. Not satisfied with the publicity she received from Africa 24, the Congolese ruling family and government, also paid the sum of FCFA 700 million to Amougou Belinga, in order for the owner of Vision 4 TV  Cameroonian based TV station to come open a subsidiary in Brazzaville for the promotion of Denis Sassou Nguesso, his family and government. Mr Amougou Belinga is the owner Anecdote Media Group and Vision 4 TV is a subsidiary of the group. Mr Amougou Belinga is not only an assertive pro-government media mogul, he also boast around or tells anybody who cares to listen that, support for his Anecdote Media Group comes from Cameroon’s minister of Justice and keeper of the seals, Laurent Esso. After controlling the media at home, in Francophone Africa, the ruling Nguesso family decided to strike a great coup by bringing the pan European TV, Euronews in Congo Brazzaville through its subsidiary, Africanews.

Media Obsession

The grand question that most Congo or Nguesso family observers have always asked is this: why are Sassou Nguesso and his family so obsess with media propaganda? The answer is not farfetched. The plan of the regime is to transform Congo into a pan African and international media hub. Hence besides Vision 4 TV that they courted to open shop in Brazzaville, the same proposals was made to Africa 24, Vox Africa and an obscure TV station called UBIZNEWS managed by Alain Mevegue, a staff of France 24. As far as Euronews is concern, they were paid an unspecified sum to convince the Lyon based pan European TV to open its Africa subsidiary, Africanews in Congo.  To entice the pan European TV to stay in a country where there is no freedom of speech, the government is building them an 8 storey building in the heart of Brazzaville to serve as headquarters of Africanews besides state financial subvention. Their ultra modern building will be located along the aptly called Boulevard Denis Sassou Nguesso and which is not far from the private home of Sassou Nguesso located at Mpila, Saint Denis.  Why are they spending large sum of money on the press at home and abroad? It is first to improve their filthy image and second: to hide its appalling human rights abuses and corruption at home.  

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Denis Sassou Nguesso and Jeune Afrique & Les Depeches de Brazzaville

While there is no doubt that, local media houses mentioned earlier have proven links to the Nguesso family albeit surreptitiously, but the media houses that have direct or glaring connections with Denis Sassou Nguesso are: Jeune Afrique and Les Depeches de Brazzaville. According to Apollinaire Aya, a staff at the Paris, France office of the department of Communications of the presidency of the Republic, headed by Claudia Sassou Nguesso, a lump sum of FCFA 2 billion is earmark annually for: Jeune Afrique and Les Depeches de Brazzaville. Remember, Les Depeches de Brazzaville is the only daily in the country and it is published by ADIAC media group. As if it were not enough to invest in Jeune Afrique, whose editor-in-chief is Francois Soudan, they ( the Nguessos) now control of Forbes Afrique, after the franchise for French-speaking Africa was bought by Lucien Ebata ( read previous article). In short, Forbes Afrique has become another tool in the Nguesso’s propaganda arsenal. While the ADIAC media group has the latest printing press and publishes Les Depeches de Brazzaville, the national printing press has not only been deliberately ruined, its staff are not paid regularly. More, the national daily La Nouvelle Republique publishes occasionally because it doesn’t have a running budget. Even the Congolese News Agency abbreviated ACP, has also been run aground, because the Nguessos wants ADIAC to substitute ACP as Les Depeches de Brazzaville has done with La Nouvelle Republique. The voracious love of the regime and the Nguessos for image makeover doesn’t stop at sponsoring print and electronic media at home or abroad.  As already mentioned, the ruling Nguesso family has destroyed the entire local press: print and electronic. Another example of how the Nguesso have orchestrated the decay of the press can be seen in how they treat or manage the national radio and television: CNRTV. The paradox is that, the national radio and television which is the pivot of propaganda of the system, sometime lack recording tapes, video cameras, microphones or its vans doesn’t have fuel to carry reporters around to cover stories or events. 

Nguesso owned Media Houses in Congo

To crown the Nguesso family capture and control of local media, each member of the Nguesso family has a TV or Radio station or is planning to create or launch one. Maurice Nguesso, the elder brother of President Sassou Nguesso as you already know, owns MNTV, which is a subsidiary of the media group, MNCOM. Claudia Sassou Nguesso, daughter of President Sassou Nguesso and his communications adviser, owns Top TV, while his nephew, Jean Jacques Bouya, owns Equateur Service TV through a proxy called Jean Didier Elongo. Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso owns VOX TV and Vox Magazine, General Norbert Dabira owns DRTV, Elvis Digne Okombi Tsalisant is the owner of TPT Pointe Noire, General Jean François Ndenguet owns Le Troubadour newspaper. And more, in their respective villages and localities, government ministers own radio and TV stations such as Radio Paris Abala, in Abala owned by Henri Ossebi (see profile) or Raymond Zephyrine Mboulou(see profile), who owns a radio in his village of Ngo in the Plateau region. The fact that, they are controlling the nation’s print and electronic media is not satisfactory   as far as they are concern. And as already mentioned they have also gone into frenetic investments into foreign media by buying advertorial spaces in pan African media such as Africa 24, Vox Africa, France 24 and TV 5. The advertorial binge of the Nguessos and their government increases during pre-presidential and post presidential election periods. For these media are needed to cover the way the presidential election is conducted in order to please and improve their image in the international community. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Congo Brazzaville: names of media houses controlled by Denis Sassou Nguesso

Sponsoring & investing in media locally

In Congo, the government through the Nguessos is in control of the state owned electronic media: radio and television abbreviated CNRTV and the Print media: La Nouvelle Republique, which is officially the national daily. The particularity of La Nouvelle Republique is as already mentioned, is that, its publications or periodicity are irregular. Furthermore, what passes for privately owned media houses: print and electronic: MNTV, Top TV, Vox Congo, ESTV, DRTV and TPT Pointe Noire are either owned by the brother, son, daughter, nephews of the President of the Republic or Army Generals, government ministers and people who are close to the regime.  It is the same situation with print media Houses: Le Patriote and Le Troubadour that are everything but private.  The first is owned by the political adviser to the President and the second by General Jean Francois Ndenguet.

Investing in western media: France

Since they (the Nguessos) have total and complete control over internal or local media, they are now attempting to control foreign print and electronic media. Hence the Congolese government is investing massively through advertorials in pan African French language magazine: Jeune Afrique or purely French newspapers such as Le Figaro or Ouest France. In a bid to further affirm the regime and family control or influence within French media landscape, it is claimed in Brazzaville that, Sassou Nguesso has shares in two major French newspapers: Le Monde and Nouvelle Observateur. How possible? That is what I have tried while still in Congo to find out. However, those circulating the latter news have it that, Sassou Nguesso bought shares in Le Monde and Nouvelle Observateur, through Mathieu Pigasse. Mr Mathieu Pigasse is the nephew of Jean Paul Pigasse, the manager of ADIAC media Group. However, I have not been able to  independently confirm the latter mentioned information, that is why, even though in Brazzaville there are elements of truths in most rumours, I can only by the time of writing this section, refer to Sassou Nguesso’s ownership of shares in the aforementioned two prestigious French newspapers as mere rumours. However, Mathieu Pigasse, who is a banker, is as already mentioned, rumored to be among people along with Moussa Yaya, who assisted Congo to doctor its statistics in a bid to qualify her for the Highly Poor and Indebted Countries Programme.  In Brazzaville, as at when I was still there, several questions were posed by citizens, regarding Mathieu Pigasse.  Some the questions asked were: Where did Mathieu Pigasse get money to buy controlling shares in two major newspapers in France?  Was it even true that, he had shares in Le Monde and Nouvelle Observateur? If he has shares in those two French newspapers, did he buy them with proceeds from services rendered to the government of Congo, as was done or offered to Moussa Yaya, through licenses awarded to Kontinent in the areas of oil exploration and Telecommunications? 

Monday, August 7, 2017

How Denis Sassou Nguesso and family are controlling the Press In Congo Brazzzaville

Controlling foreign and local Press

After they have succeeded in controlling the media at home, Congolese government through the ruling Nguesso family have developed a sleek scheme to control how foreign media do report about the country or the way the country is being managed by the Nguessos.  More about the government strategy to control the press at home and abroad will be developed in greater details below. However, the scheme put in place by the Nguessos to control the press locally and internationally has succeeded. This is so because the Congolese government is succeeding in misinforming the world about the true reality of the country: politically, socially and economically.  It is sadly the same strategy they have used to destroy and weaken opposition parties and also civil society organisations within the country. The manipulative media strategy put in place by the ruling Nguesso family to misinform the world is known as operation: “Koteka Mboka Te” or “Koteka Ekolo Te” in Lingala, and in English: “Don’t betray the fatherland”.

This is how “Koteka Mboka Te” or “Koteka Ekolo Te”

Through this scheme, the Congolese government encourages most foreign media houses: Radio France International (rfi), Voice of America (VOA), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Agence France Presse (AFP) to work in the country only with local stringers. In case the aforementioned media houses may desire to send foreign correspondents to Brazzaville, the process to obtain accreditation or visa is way too long and intentionally made to be complicated. And the immediate consequence is that, the cumbersome bureaucracy ends up discouraging media houses and consequently, they end up opting or inadvertently supporting the government’s strategy.  Most western media houses easily fall prey to Congolese government’s communications manipulative strategy because these days, the trend in most western media houses is to cut cost.  The Congolese government’s manipulative strategy is made more appealing, because it is accompanied with a formidable propaganda that goes thus: “local stringers know and understand best the country”. It is true that, local stringers may master the political, social and economic environment better, but as earlier mentioned, the underlying motive of the government is to direct the narrative of how the country and its government activities are reported.  To back up my claims, I have observed while in Congo that, immediately the government has the list of regular stringers working for foreign media houses, these stringers are enlisted onto the payroll of the Communications department of the presidency of the Republic and are paid a monthly stipend of FCFA 500 thousand or $ 700. This sum excludes extra payment or allowances paid to stringers in case they accompany the President or government ministers to cover certain events in the interior of the country.  In the Republic of Congo Brazzaville, the department of Communications of the presidency of the Republic is headed by Claudia Sassou Nguesso, the daughter of President Denis Sassou Nguesso. By opting to offer monthly salaries to stringers working for western media houses abovementioned, it is Congolese government’s own sleek attempt at controlling news coming out of the country. This method is a success, given that, most often than not, what comes out from Congo from local stringers, are good news stories or the under reporting of atrocities such as the current situation in the Pool region. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Sassou Nguesso's Sleek method of stifling press freedom in Congo Brazzaville


As already mentioned, there are a number of Congolese journalists who have been killed by this regime and many others who have either been forced into exile or have abandoned the profession altogether. The preceding are not an exhaustive means or methods used by the government to stifle press freedom. Intimidation or beating of journalists are regularly used and the government  also goes the extra mile of intimidating families of journalists, who will in turn prevail on their husbands, wives or children who are journalists to support  the state and its propaganda.  Besides intimidation or executions, there are equally several journalists who have been expelled from the country because their method of work is too professional and independent minded for the regime to withstand.  Paradoxically, in spite the abovementioned grim picture, there are no journalists in the jails of Congo, hence some international media organisations such as Reporters without Borders, RSF tend to give the country better media rankings than relatively freer countries within the region. But RSF or other media organisations are not to be blamed. They are victims of Congolese government’s sleek manipulations tactics. As of the 4th day of June 2017, there were no journalists in any Congolese jail and no journalists have been killed since I was expelled from in 2014.  In reality Congo remains one of the most treacherous countries for journalists on the African continent.  The example to back my latter claim is the recent arrest of Ghys Fortune Bemba, the publisher of Talassa newspaper on fallacious claims that, he is supporting terrorism, simply because, he granted an interview to Frederic Bintsamou aka Pastor Ntumi and published it in his newspaper: Talassa.

Sleek method of stifling the press

The government of Congo has put in place a sleek method of stifling press freedom that may not be visible to the eyes of an uninitiated observer. The first tool of press repression in Congo is not the Police as would generally be thought or expected. Institutions such as the country’s Press and Communications Monitoring Board, officially known in French  as the Conseil Superieur de la Liberte Communication, CSLC, is the first and foremost arm of press obstruction. This organisation is promoted by the government as an agency that regulates the press, ensures professional best practices and grants broadcast frequency in the country. What contradict the noble objectives of the government agency are the political affiliations and ideologies of those who are appointed to lead the organisation and other negative aspects below listed.

Philippe Mvouo

The first problem with the CSLC is its current chair, Philippe Mvouo. However, he is not very different from his predecessor, Jacques Banagazala, who is currently among the 131 political prisoners detained at the Brazzaville, central prisons.  Philippe Mvouo is not only a member of the ruling Congolese workers party, PCT; he is also reported to be a close to two chieftain of the regime: Firmin Ayessa, the chief of staff to President Sassou Nguesso and also Jean Dominique Okemba, the nephew of President Sassou Nguesso and also his special adviser. The hyper proximity of Philippe Mvouo to the Firmin Ayessa and Jean Dominique Okemba might explain the reasons why, since he(Philippe Mvouo )was appointed as chair of CSLC, he has proscribed or suspended a record number of newspapers under the fallacious claims that, their contents were not professional or outright libelous. However after investigations, it was discovered that, almost all the newspapers suspended or banned were simply because they were either considered as too independent or that, they published news that exposed influential members of the government and also members of the Kleptocracy: Jean Dominique Okemba, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, Jean Jacques Bouya and many others. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Companies controlled by the Nguessos: China Bridge and Road Construction and BGFI Bank Congo Brazzaville

BGFI Bank: Jean Dominique Okemba

The ruling Nguesso family as already mentioned is present in all sectors of the Congolese economy. Another symbol or example of the stranglehold that, the Nguessos have over the Congolese economy is Jean Dominique Okemba. Mr Okemba whose name has been severally mentioned in this book is not only the nephew of the President and his special adviser and secretary general of the Congolese national Security Council; he is equally the chairman of the board of Directors of BGFI Bank Congo Brazzaville. Logically, he is the majority shareholder, but I have not been able to know or get the financial weight and worth of his shareholding unlike that of Gloria Mteyu mentioned below which was published by Bloomberg.   BGFI is another family based bank with its origin found in Gabon. In Congo Brazzaville, BGFI’s longstanding general manager is Narcisse Obiang and deputy, is Thierry Sansonnat, a Frenchman who has been offered Congolese nationality, simply because the Nguessos don’t want anybody to know all their financial transactions being carried through the bank. According to COBAC or Central African Banking Commission requirements, any bank operating within the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States, CEMAC must have at its helms a national from one of the six member states. However, in case a non national, is at the helm of a local bank, its deputy must be a citizen from where the bank is located. In order to circumvent the latter rule, the Nguessos have decided to offer Congolese nationality to Thierry Sansonnat, who is French by nationality.  The majority shareholder of Groupe BGFI Bank SA, which is present in 11 countries in west and central Africa are the Omar Bongo family.  And more, the Groupe BGFI Bank SA or their local subsidiaries are the bank of choice of   the ruling families in almost all countries that she has a subsidiary.  According to a publication of the online edition of Blumberg of December 16th 2016, in neighbouring DRC, the chairman of the board of Directors is Gloria Mteyu. She holds 60% of the shares of BGFI Bank DRC even after its recapitalization in 2104 and which is worth $ 10 million. Her brother, Francis Selemani Mtwale is the CEO of BGFI DRC. Both Gloria and Francis are sister and brother to President Joseph Kabila.

Alfred Onanga

While Jean Dominique Okemba is the majority shareholder of BGFI Bank Congo, another of his close ally: Alfred Onanga is the chairman of the Board of Director of another local bank known as Banque Congolaise de L’Habitat, BCH.  Mr Onanga besides chairing the board of BCH, he doubles as Director of Congolese Customs. BGFI Bank Congo Brazzaville doesn’t singularize itself with its unique management method, but also in breaking banking rules and regulations. For while the Central African Banking Commission requires that proper vetting systems be put in place to ascertain source of any financial transactions and destinations, BGFI ignores them or fails to respect the guidelines. Hence most men and women connected to power in countries where it has opened a subsidiary prefer to have an account at BGFI.  In Brazzaville, the national hydrocarbon corporation otherwise known as the SNPC has an account at BGFI Bank for all its oil transactions.

Jean Jacques Bouya 

In the galaxy of the Nguesso Kleptocratic family, there is also Jean Jacques Bouya (see profile). He is the money man of the President. For any project in the country that is beyond a FCFA 1 billion, he is the only one who has the authority to manage and execute it. This has made him to become one of the richest men in Congo and with such wealth; he also nurses the ambition to become President of the Republic. Even though he is not the show and tell type of most of his cousins, it has been revealed that, behind his love for China also lies his source of his wealth. He likes to work with Chinese and Chinese companies because they are corrupt as he is. It is reported that, he is the real owner of a Chinese company called China Bridge and Road Construction that has won almost all major construction contracts recently in the Republic of Congo. An example to demonstrate the dominance of China Bridge and Construction Company, within three years, the company is reported to have won FCFA 9 billion worth of contracts from the government. And it is also reported that, all other Chinese companies operating in Congo Brazzaville must pay or bribe Jean Jacques Bouya 20% of the revenue from any contract that they might win.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The golden boys of the Sassou Nguesso Kleptocracy:Alexis Vincent Gomez,Paul Obambi,Lucien Ebata

Paul Obambi: Azur Telecom

The presidential family or the ruling Nguesso family is also into the Telecommunication sector through one of their best known businessman: Paul Obambi. Mr Obambi is the majority shareholder of a Mobile telephony company: Azur Telecom. This company that Cendrine Sassou Nguesso is also a shareholder is headed by the younger brother of Mr Obambi by name Jean Bruno Obambi, a graduate of HEC in Montreal, Canada. Azur Telecom is not only present in Congo; she has subsidiaries in Gabon and Central Africa Republic. Mr Obambi is not only in the mobile telephony business, he is also into advertising, mining and oil sectors. He is also the owner of Congo Oil in the DRC. Although Paul Obambi staunchly refuses that his success is attached to his proximity to President Sassou Nguesso, many people that, I spoke to before writing this book has a contrary view. They all confirmed to me that Paul Obambi is fronting for President Denis Sassou Nguesso.  However all those who made the revelation or confirmed the claims did not want to be named publicly for fear of retaliation.

Alexis Vincent Gomez

While Paul Obambi operates in several sectors within the Congolese economy, the other golden boy of the system is Alexis Vincent Gomez. As his profile has indicated earlier, he is a lawyer and real estate mogul. Many people that I interviewed for this book confirmed to me that, Alexis Vincent Gomez was fronting for Mrs. Antoinette Sassou Nguesso, but like Paul Obambi, he has rejected any accusations of his supposed links with Antoinette Sassou Nguesso or any other member of the ruling Nguesso family. The other reality in Congo is that, without any proximity with members of the ruling Nguesso family, it is almost impossible to do business in the country. Most Lebanese and West African businessmen operating in Congo will back the latter claims. They (West African businessmen) can’t operate without the backing of one or more members of the ruling Nguesso family. Some West African and Lebanese businessmen do boast that, their businesses are either a cover for one of the Nguessos or for some influential persons within the system. They are no longer afraid to tell anybody who cares to listen that, they are doing business with the support of the ruling family. The Nguessos don’t have investments only in Congo. Some of their supports have invested massively out of Congo. The cases of Paul Obami with his mobile phone company present in Gabon and Central African Republic and Willy Etoka who has investments in Congo, Morocco, France and the United States. In the US, Willy Etoka has invested in a property at Potomac and McDonalds franchises. The rise of Willy Etoka from rag to richest would have been wonderful and also a source of inspiration to many poor and better educated Congolese if it was really the fruit of hard work. He was formerly a used tire merchant around Miadeka Street in Brazzaville and today he is the 10th richest man in French-speaking Africa with a presidential ambition because he is fronting for Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso.

Lucien Ebata

Orion Oil, owned by Lucien Ebata is based in neighbouring DRC, precisely in Kinshasa. Orion Oil also has offices in Canada and Switzerland. Lucien Ebata is perhaps the top among the golden boys fronting for the Nguesso ruling family that I know personally besides Paul Obambi.  I had the opportunity while in Congo Brazzaville to interview him twice for my TV programme, La Grande Interview broadcast on MNTV. How he became rich is equally a fairytale comparable to that of Willy Etoka, earlier mentioned. My investigations have revealed that, in spite all the stories that are officially narrated as being the source of his wealth; the truth is that, the Nguesso families are the ones who have propelled him to the pinnacle of African business. However, what I was not able to pinpoint clearly, was who was his connecting man or woman within the Nguesso family. Some people I spoke with claimed that, he was working for Edgard Nguesso, while others claim that, he was working for Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso. Whatever the case, Lucien Ebata is not a self made business man as he would want the world to think he is, but a product of a corrupt system. He is one of the many conduits through which the ruling Nguesso family uses to siphon out of the country, funds generated from the sale of Congolese crude oil. Lucien Ebata is a brilliant businessman who has decided to diversify his business by going into the media. He has bought the franchise for French-speaking black Africa of the American magazine: Forbes. The French-speaking edition or Forbes franchise for Africa is known as Forbes Afrique and it has become a platform under which the ruling party uses to launder it image at home and abroad by organizing conferences for media professionals and for spent out politicians from western democracies: Guy Verhostadt, Pierre Raffarin, Dominique de Villepin or Vincente Fox to give themselves a semblance of political rejuvenation. It was through Forbes Afrique that Willy Etoka, one of the creatures of the system was exposed as the 10th richest person in French-speaking Africa.