Monday, January 25, 2016

Congo: the land where corruption is not only accepted but supported by the government (3).

The Republic of Congo is a country where there are little or no employment prospects for the teeming number of graduates and youths. Hence any opportunity for employments attracts bag loads of applicants and sadly, only people who are well connected or have what is called in Congo as “Poteau” or “pillars” which is a metaphor for internal chaperoning; are the ones who are offered jobs, even if they are not qualified or competent. For example, when I came or was hired at MNTV/MN Radio, I met that, they had a staff of 30 journalists and 20 technicians. And out of this number, only 10 journalists could read and write French or one of the other two official languages in the country: Lingala and Kituba. Paradoxically, all those employed had at least an ordinary level certificate, while the others even had Bachelor’s degrees from the lone national university called Marien Ngouabi University located in Brazzaville, the capital. And this brings us to another problem in the country: the falling standard of education and also corruption. If not, how can people who hold an ordinary or advance level certificate and worse of all, first degree, were not able to read or write in French?
How did they get those certificates?  This will be answered on the chapter on: “Congolese cultural values”. One thing amongst many that I have noticed while in Congo, especially amongst its elite is that, corruption and exam cheat has become a style or an acceptable culture. 

The elite are the ones who help their children to cheat during exams.  It is not as though there were no examination cheat or corruption in other African countries that I have visited, stayed and worked. The difference between Congo and other African countries that I have visited, stayed and work is that, examination cheat and all kinds of corruption is not only accepted but supported by the government. This is a country where the administrations of the lone state University and other state institutions have refused computerization or digitalization for fear that; it might stop or reduce frauds of all kinds. Some elite, in particular those belonging to the ruling PCT prosper in corruption. Then after observing the Congolese media landscape, I discovered that, most of the media houses or media outfits were owned by members of the ruling family: daughters, sons, brother, cousins of the President of the Republic.The only other people allowed to have media houses in Congo were people gravitating around power circles. Therefore, the so-called private media houses in Congo were a farce. 

They were also everything but private. Those so-called private media houses were not very different from the state owned National Radio and Television in the way they treated news stories that concerned any national and international events. Most media houses in Congo, especially electronic, were just making propaganda of the system and the ruling family. The only area where there were some independence or free views were in the print media that were truly privately owned.  To show how the ruling PCT and president Denis Sassou Nguesso abhorred private or independent media, the government even decided to ground the national daily called La Nouvelle Republic in favor of a privately owned daily called Les Depeches de Brazzaville.   In fact, Les Depeches de Brazzaville is owned by the president of the Republic and managed by a French former journalist by name Jean Paul Pigasse. 

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