The 1959 Mpila tragedy, did not only divide the country, it also consolidated the stereotypical views that, southerners, and especially its educated elite, had always nursed against northerners. Most southerners think that, the greater north of Congo is a worthless expand full of uneducated “savages”, who are only capable to work in the army not as officers but in the position of rank and file. Some southerners also think that, Northerners are not also worthy to work in the civil service. The other negative perception or cliché that, southern Congolese have toward people of the greater north are that, they are animists, lazy, pernicious, immoral and culturally and religiously adrift. There are many things that differentiate southern Congolese from their northern counters one of them being polygamy. While polygamy is widespread in the country, some southerners that I spoke to claim that, those who practice it the most are people from the north, in particular the Mbouchi. Another personal observation even though some southerners have backed it in their conversations with me, is that, the proportion of northerners who contract civil marriages and register or establish birth certificates for their new born is lower in than in the greater south.
Regarding the contemporary Congolese society’s penchant for debauchery that affects Congolese women and men, the diplomat also told me that: “Congolese women, in particular and the country’s general demise began in 1968 and not 1979 under Sassou Nguesso, as it is commonly claimed”. He added: “no real patriot can have any praise for Marien Ngouabi”. He continued: “Marien Ngouabi was an incompetent and tribal oriented leader, who covered his administrative weakness and ineptitude through populist actions”. He concluded on the latter statement by declaring that: “one of the many cover ups of Marien Ngouabi was when he went and started teaching at the University and people applauded”. And he asked me this question: “he was a lecturer at the University, which now bears his name, isn’t it, but when did he find time to focus on governance?”
Origin of tribalism and cronyism
On tribalism that has gripped the country, he told me:”Congolese seems to have the propensity of almost always accusing Sassou Nguesso for everything evil, although he has perfected and transformed tribalism, the vicious plans of the north to benefit only him, his family and his Mbouchi tribe, he is not the master or the one who has elevated tribalism in to an art”. He went on: “Sassou Nguesso is just the disciple of the prince of evil that Marien Ngouabi was”. He concluded: “Marien Ngouabi was the one who began what is known today in Congo as “Yaka noki noki” or a metaphor for tribalism”. “Yaka noki noki” to be clearer, is the act of bringing your brother/sister or tribal brother/sister to come and occupy a post, even if he or she is not competent.