Friday, April 29, 2016

Roger Bouka Owoko: Profile of a tenacious human rights activist

Roger Bouka Owoko: he is still a member of the Congolese human rights and defense group called Organisation Congolaise des Droit the L’homme abbreviated in French as OCDH. Although incapacitated because of poor health, which has forced him to leave not only the limelight, but also to hand over his responsibility and function to Tresor Nzila, his successor. The tenacity and determination of Roger Bouka Owoko in defying the state, has contributed immensely not only in exposing several aspects of human rights violations carried out by the Congolese government, but also its crass corruption practices. He made his mark in the 2005 trial of top government soldiers or officers, who were accused of having orchestrated the disappearance of 352 Congolese refuges, who had returned from exile in the DRC. That massacre and disappearance, one of the many committed by the government of Denis Sassou Nguesso since he came to power in 1997, is generally known as in French as les Massacre du Beach

It took place in 1999.  Thanks to Roger Owoko and other activists like lawyer Herve Amboise Malonga, it is now been evident that, the 2005 Beach Trial was held in a Kangaroo court wherein the government did everything not only to absolve itself from accusations, but also all officers indicted.  The so-called beach trial was a sham. If Congo has recorded albeit a small improvement in the area of the respect of human rights, which has sadly been lost since 2012, it is partly because of the contribution of people such as Roger Owoko. His only regret is that, in the area of the fight against corruption, a new front he wanted to open, his poor health has not helped him to reach the goal that had set for himself and his organization. Their goal was a massive exposure of those who were stealing state money.  OCDH under him was ready to publish a list to name and shame all those who were embezzling state funds.

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