Thursday, July 13, 2017

Understanding Kleptocracy in Congo Brazzaville

Kleptocracy in Congo is sustained by one man: Denis Sassou Nguesso. And as you had already read, especially in the preceding chapter and some aspects of which will be developed here, Kleptocracy is not only about sustained corruption and the abuse of power, it also involves how a system influences negatively the social, political and economic behaviors internally and externally. While the Congolese diplomat whom I met in Washington DC and whose conversation with me was abundantly mentioned in the preceding chapter thinks Marien Ngouabi bears the responsibility in the current state of the country, on personal view, I don’t think Marien was a Kleptocrat. He was perhaps a rabble rousing dictator. However the Nguessos through Sassou have negatively influenced the country and also neighboring countries. Since the Republic of Congo became independent from France in 1960, the country has known at its helm, 6 leaders: Fulbert Youlou, Alphonse Massamba-Debat, Yhombi Opangault, Marien Ngouabi, Denis Sassou Nguesso and Professor Pascal Lissouba. Among the above, none has exercised or exerted control over the state and stayed in power longer than Denis Sassou Nguesso has.

Furthermore, Sassou Nguesso has also achieved a feat by being the only Congolese leader who has held the mantle of power twice or the job of President, twice. He came to power in 1979 and only left in 1992, when he lost to Pascal Lissouba and he came back to power again in 1997 until date through a brutal civil war. Another achievement of Denis Sassou Nguesso, if it could be considered as one, is that, he is also the only Congolese leader who has the most involved his children and close family member into the management of the country. Sassou Nguesso’s children, grand and great grand children and close family members are present in every sector in Congo like octopuses. However to the discharge of Sassou Nguesso and his family, they are not the only ruling family within the central Africa sub region who has introduced their children and family members into all layers of governance. The best known case within the central Africa region is Omar Bongo who seems to be the regional mentor in administrative nepotism. Even though before him, there was Mobutu in Zaire. Besides Gabon, the other ruling families who are in power, some for close to 5 decades are: the Obiangs in Equatorial Guinea and the Santos in Angola. Both families and their fathers came to helms of their respective countries in 1979 and they don’t seem to have the desire to leave power. The other rising ruling family is that of Laurent Desire Kabila, whose son, Joseph Kabila is in power in the DRC since 2001.

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