The mandate of the Congolese president Joseph Kabila officially came to an end in December 2016. However, he did not resign. Everywhere across the country the Congolese protested against his refusal to step down. Earlier demonstrations broke out when Kabila wanted to change the constitution so he could run for a third, unconstitutional term as president. Every demonstration was met with harsh repression by Kabila’s regime, leaving dozens dead and hundreds wounded.
On New Year’s Eve 2017 many Congolese citizens participated in street demonstrations against the illegal presidency of Kabila. To keep this hidden from the rest of the world, Kabila’s regime decided to cut internet and SMS services across the country. Again the demonstrations were met with violent repression. Eight people died and hundreds were left injured.
During this edition of Political Café we will speak about the future of Congo in an informal setting. Will elections contribute to peace, democracy and progression in Congo? What are the Congolese doing to bring about change? And what contribution can the international community and you as a citizens make to this? We will start with the short documentary ‘Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering the Truth’. Thereafter the speakers and the audience will try to find answers to the crisis.
About the speakers
- Nadia Nsayi works as a policy officer for Central Africa at Pax Christi Flanders and Broederlijk Delen. She is specialised in the peace process in Congo with special focus on Belgian policy and the role of the Congolese civil society.
- Alphonse Muambi is an author, opinion maker and lobbyist from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Alphonse is also speaker and participates in (inter)national fora on Africa, global issues, strategic resources and development. He publishes essays in newspapers and wrote the book ‘You can’t eat democracy’. Alphonse also acts as a consultant in the areas described above with respect to Congo.
- Angélique Mbundu is a lawyer, entrepreneur and has her own consultancy firm. Angélique has a rich experience in public, private and non-profit sector. She is board member of the organization Yangambi and artistic director of the iAfrica Film Festival. Furthermore, she is one of the founders of the African Young Professional Network (AYP) and duo-president of the Dutch division of the network Africa 2.0.
- Rapper Badi (Badibanga Ndeka) lives in Brussels, but describes himself as ‘A man with no country, flagless.’ He says the following about his identity: “Am I Belgian or am I from Congo, or just a black-skinned Belgian… Son of the colonies, child of slavery, adopted by Europe… ”
- The moderator is Kiza Magendane. Kiza is an Amsterdam based writer with Congolese roots. He studied political science and is connected to OneWorld, de Volkskrant and NRC as a publicist.
Political Café is an initiative of the Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS) in collaboration with Yangambi.
Photo: Jelena Prtoric (via Creative Commons)
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