Monday, May 9, 2016

Guy Milex Mbondzi: Profile of an insatiable investigative journalist

Guy Milex Mbondzi:  He is a journalist and publisher of La Voix du Peuple.  And La Voix du Peuple, in my opinion is perhaps along with other newspapers such as: Sel Piment, Nouvelle Observateur and La Griffe, the last truly independent newspapers left in Congo. But as at the time, that I was typing or writing this book, La Voix du Peuple had also suffered the same fate of Talassa newspaper. That is, banned indefinitely by the government of Denis Sassou Nguesso. However, he now runs or publishes, La Trompet, a sister newspaper. Unfortunately for him and the Congolese readers, La Trompet newspaper has also been banned by the government. Until the indefinite ban of La Voix du Peuple, took place, it was perhaps the only newspaper in Congo, which held the record in term of suspensions from the government. It immediate competitor was Talassa. It was thanks to La Voix du Peuple and also Talassa that, the scandal of the sale of Congolese diplomatic passports to Lebanese, suspected of belonging to Hezbollah was exposed. La Voix du Peuple was the first to reveal the secret love child of Jean Dominique Okemba. The mismanagement at LCB Bank by its former manager, Younes El Masloumi was exposed or revealed by La Voix du Peuple and when Jean-Jacques Bouya appointed his younger brother, Serge Bouya as the deputy Director of the Pointe Noire Autonomous Port, the paper that broke the news was La Voix du Peuple. The head of the Congolese National Communications Commission, Mr Philippe Mvouo calls Mbondzi a “terrorist journalist” while Clement Mierassa, chair of an opposition party calls him a freedom fighter.  

Mbonzi’s insatiable love for investigative journalism has created him several enemies within the circles of power and also within the journalism profession. Within the profession, some of his colleagues are jealous of him because, he is young and also because of the notoriety that he has created for himself and newspaper, within a very short time.  Until I was expelled from Congo by General Jean Francois Ndenguet, because I dare protest after he ordered thugs to attack my home and also gang rape my younger sister, I have been observing Guy Milex Mbonzi with admiration. I was impressed and I always said to myself that, if Congo had five courageous and honest journalists such as Mbonzi, the days of the dictatorship of Denis Sassou Nguesso would have been numbered. Sadly, most Congolese journalists are professionally lazy, corrupt and dishonest. They are mostly animated by foolish pride, sterile nationalism, jealousy and envy. Most often some observers do accuse the opposition and civil society organisations in the country for not only being weak, but corrupt. And they claim that, it is because of the weak, corrupt and divided oppositions and civil society organisations, which have made Denis Sassou Nguesso to stay longer than needed in power. It is partly correct, but they also forget to mention the aspect of violence employed by the government on the population, as being another factor in the long reign of Denis Sassou Nguesso. 

The other perhaps crucial aspect seldom mentioned in to the reason why Denis Sassou Nguesso can extend his rule or misrule, without and organized resistance or prolonged protest, is the dubious role played by most Congolese journalists and their press. Most Congolese journalists are not only corrupt; some even go the extra mile of betraying their colleagues and members of the opposition to the Police, for a monthly stipend.  Most Colleagues journalists work as spies for the regime, especially for the Police. However, Guy Milex Mbonzi and some few others are the exceptions to the rule in a country whose press is rotten. Throughout my stay in Congo, I knew that, La Voix du Peuple has been published and is in circulation, whenever I saw Guy Milex Mbonzi, dressed in a black Mao Zedong style coat and holding his black briefcase and walking around the business and administrative district of Brazzaville. Instead of him hiding in his BasCongo neighbourhood, whenever he published La Voix du Peuple, he was in town. And more, he was aware that, each edition of La Voix du Peuple on the newsstand was synonymous to a bomb explosion of revelations on the lives of the rich and powerful. And in spite the risk, he still had the effrontery to come and defy those on whom he had published articles.

The content of La Voix du Peuple was so valued and appreciated by the population to a point where, it survived economically without adverts until it was banned. His secret was simple. He did investigative journalism and focused not only on political subjects, but more on financial subjects and also on the political, economical and salacious lives of those governing the country. He is bold and enjoys risking taking. He is also a militant in the defense and protection of free speech and democracy. Furthermore, he is honest and knows how to keep secrets. Those are qualities, besides professionalism, that most Congolese journalists do lack. Guy Milex Mbonzi has created a name for himself because he doesn’t take bribe or is not at the mercy of any political affiliation. He has refused to used be by the government, especially by the Police of General Jean Francois Ndenguet to spy on opposition party leaders and other prodemocracy activists, as most of his colleagues are doing. However, he seems to have an idealistic view of the world and of Congo in particular.

Furthermore, he sometimes doesn’t make distinction between his profession and his hatred of the misrule of the country by Denis Sassou Nguesso and his cohort. He is a person who believes in Congolese and African traditions. He says he is an African Christian and a nationalist; hence he is a member or follower of Andre Grenard Matsoua. Followers of Andre Grenard Matsoua, a Congolese nationalist and pan Africanist are called the Matsouanists. Matsouanism is an indigenous Congolese Christian movement. He also leads a very secretive live, for it is not known whether he is married or whether he has a partner or children. To confront the current dictatorship in Congo, there is need for such bold press men and women like Guy Milex Mbondzi, who are not corruptible and who also believe in true multiparty democracy and freedom of speech. He is the only Congolese journalist , during my close to four years stay in that country, whom I have seen refuse money and also a proposition of trip to France to stay and continue his education. Those offers were made to him by Bienvenu Okiemi, former minister of Communications. The former minister wanted him not only stop investigating how he ran the ministry of Communications, but the minister also wanted him to give him his source of information within the ministry or elsewhere. Guy Milex rejected all those demands. All those transactions took place in my presence and the venue was the restaurant of Mikhael Hotel in Brazzaville. He stands out as an honest diehard advocate for press freedom and democracy, in a country where most journalists because of limited or no resources, have become informants of the police.

No comments:

Post a Comment