Monday, March 7, 2016

Gilbert Ondongo MP: Profile of a finance minister hated by most of his colleagues

Gilbert Ondongo MP: he is the minister of Economy, Finance, Planning and Integration of Congo. He is one of the most influential ministers within the regime of Denis Sassou Nguesso. It is claimed that, along with Jean Jacques Bouya, Aime Emmanuel Yoka and Jean Bruno Richard Itoua, they have created or formed a band of four around the President of the Republic and thus, influencing all decisions that, the president may want to take, especially when it comes to the allocation of budgets to other ministers or ministries.  Theirs seems to be their answer to a similar band of four created around former President Pascal Lissouba and that, it is claimed was to be the architect of the misrule of the only post independent democratically elected President of Congo. Those who constituted the band of four and who are claimed to have misled Pascal Lissouba were: Moukoueke, Tamba-Tamba, Kombo and Mberi. History being something that repeats itself regularly, perhaps the current band of four of President Denis Sassou Nguesso might replicate what the former band of four did to Pascal Lissouba.

Arrogant and pretentious

Whether claims that Gilbert Ondongo and the others above mentioned are ganging up around the President are correct or wrong, those spreading such rumors have forgotten to mention that, there is also Jean Dominique Okemba, Claudia Sassou Nguesso and Firmin Ayessa who have influence around or on the president of the Republic.  This simply means that, around the president are a band of seven and not four. Or perhaps, there is a band within a band around the president of the Republic. The detractors of Gilbert Ondongo claim that, he is arrogant and pretentious, but hard working.  However, in spite the influence of Gilbert Ondongo on the president and also in the city of Brazzaville and also in Pointe Noire, he is not appreciated in his home town of Owando. Owando is the capital of the Cuvette region and it is located in the north of Congo. In 2012, he carried out one, if not the most expensive legislative campaigns, perhaps in the history of Congo, just to become Member of Parliament for Owando under the banner of the ruling Congolese Workers Party abbreviated in French as PCT. His rival in the 2012 legislative elections was Jean-Jacques Yhomby, the son of former President Joachim Yhomby Opango. But in spite investing the lump sum of FCFA 3 billion, Gilbert Ondongo lost the legislative elections in Owando.

Electoral cheat

In order for him to be designated MP for Owando, Gilbert Ondongo needed the muscular intervention of Jean Dominique Okemba and the massive use  of security forces, that were massively deplored in the northern town in order  to transform or overturned electoral results in his favor. The truth is that, Gilbert Ondongo did not win the legislative elections in Owando in 2012. The victory of the people was stolen through the use of brutal force. Mindful that, Gilbert Ondongo lost the legislative elections in Owando, the government wanted to arrest the Jean-Jacques Yhomby in a bid to intimidate him and also forestall any popular revolts as it happened in Gamboma, when the victory of Mathias Dzon was stolen and award to Hugues Ngouelondele, the son in law of President Denis Sassou Nguesso. If Jean-Jacques Yhomby was arrested, ad he had wanted, it would have sparked a tribal warfare in the Cuvette region. But the intervention and mediation of Maurice Nguesso averted a simmering rivalry between the Kouyous who are natives of Owando and the minority but governing Mbouchis. The Mbouchis are the ethnic group of President Sassou Nguesso and they are accused of planting the seed of division in the home town of Owando.

Hated by his colleagues

Besides stealing the electoral victory of Jean-Jacques Yhomby, Gilbert Ondongo is not love in Owando, hence he can’t win anything there and he is also hated by most of his colleagues.
According to most of his colleagues, he doesn’t only refuse to grant them their normal budgetary allocations, he is also very arrogant. Gilbert Ondongo accuses his colleagues of leading expansive and corrupt lives. By contrast, he claims to be upright, however, a string of financial scandals have trailed him recently and which has ruined all his claims of uprightness.  According to a Congolese web site, Congo Liberty an apartment allegedly belonging to him was seized by Portuguese authorities recently, who are investigating Jose Veiga, a controversial Portuguese businessman, who is well connected with the Nguesso ruling family.  

In Congo, Jose Veiga was the General Manager of a Company called Asperbras, who were involved in fanciful projects such as the establishment of a motor assembly plant in Brazzaville along the Maya-maya international airport or the production of milk and cheese in Oyo. And the grand of all, was their plans to construct 12 modern hospitals around the country. The truth is that, in the ruling family, most are jealous of the success of Jean-Jacques Bouya, hence they too want to enter into the construction sector of business.  He also accused to have embezzled most of the funds earmarked for victims of the March 4th 2012 disaster.  Politically, he has no future in Congo after President Denis Sassou Nguesso. When challenged by some members of government or some members of the ruling family, he  claims that, he deserved what he has or his post in the system because he lost one of his parents during the 1997 civil war. He speaks as though he is the only one who has lost or sacrificed a family member during the 1997 civil war or for Denis Sassou Nguesso. Unlike some of his predecessors, Gilbert Ondongo commands little or no respect amongst ordinary Congolese, hence when he goes out walking or jogging he is accompanied by a large security details. 

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